Jury deliberations continue in Modesto murder trial

04/14/2014 6:23 PM

04/14/2014 6:24 PM

A jury is expected to continue deliberating Tuesday in a trial for a man accused of murder in the shooting of a 28-year-old woman five years ago in west Modesto.

Deputy District Attorney Brad Nix has told the jury that Shannon Case was murdered because of racial hatred. He argued that the defendant, Joseph Dixon, shot Case because she introduced his girlfriend’s daughter to a black man.

Mark Sullivan, Dixon’s defense attorney, has argued that the racial hatred came from Dixon’s girlfriend, Madeline Lopez. He has said Lopez hated black people and had the motive to kill Case.

The Ceres woman was found dead in a parked car about 1:30 a.m. April 4, 2009, near Pelton Avenue and Hammond Street in the Robertson Road Park area.

The jury began deliberations Thursday afternoon and continued Monday afternoon. Dixon, 38, remains in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail awaiting the conclusion of his trial.

Initially, Dixon, Lopez and Desiree Mills were charged with murder in Case’s death. Mills and Lopez since have accepted plea deals to lesser charges and have not been sentenced.

The prosecutor has said Case was lured to the park by Mills, Case’s longtime friend. Case was in the driver’s seat of her parked Isuzu Rodeo with two men in the passenger seats as they waited for Mills.

A vehicle pulled up, and shots were fired at the Isuzu. Case was hit by gunfire in her legs, chest and head. Case bled to death shortly before police arrived.

The defense attorney has told the jury that the “real evidence” shows his client is not guilty, and that the prosecution’s witnesses have no credibility. He has said there’s no eyewitness who spotted Dixon at the crime scene, and that there is no murder weapon, fingerprints or DNA evidence linking his client to the killing.

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