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VERDICT WATCH: Henry Segura, Accused of Killing Girlfriend and Children


[Watch coverage of the trial on the LawNewz Network with in-studio analysis in the player above. For a raw feed of just this trial, see the player below this article.]

Did Henry Segura kill his girlfriend and her children? A jury in Leon County, Florida must decide. Deliberations begin Tuesday. The defendant is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his Brandi Peters, their 3-year-old son JaVante Segura, and her twin 6-year-old daughters who were not his, Tamiyah and Taniyah Peters.

Prosecutors claim Segura committed the murders because he owed thousands in child support payments. He beat and shot Brandi, shot Tamiyah, and drowned Taniyah and JaVante, they say. All four victims were discovered on Nov. 20, 2010 at their home in Tallahassee, Florida.

The defense, on the other hand, claim that authorities got the wrong guy. They say other people’s DNA were found at the scene, including that of possible suspect Angel Avila-Quinones. They have also tried to implicate another man, James Carlos Santos, who said during a pre-trial hearing that he had ordered the killings from prison because Peters had allegedly stolen from a Mexican drug cartel. Santos later pleaded the Fifth, and Judge James Hankinson ruled at an evidentiary hearing that certain statements, including emails to Peters, were inadmissible as evidence during the trial.

Segura’s legal team wrapped up their case on Monday. The defense’s last witness, Peters’ next door neighbor, testified that her dogs were barking at the victim’s home early morning Nov. 20, 2010. Motion lights had come on at the house.

The defense rested their case, and prosecutors followed up with rebuttal witnesses. They brought Sgt. April Doubrava-Wilder of the Tallahassee Police Department to the stand. She said that a white Ford Expedition was seen, possibly the same owned by Segura’s then-wife Malica. Under cross-examination, she learned from the defense that Peters’ mother also owned the same vehicle.

Leader investigator, Officer Mark Lewis, also came back to testify. He was followed by Peters’ sister Monica. She testified that the last time she spoke to Brandi was in the late afternoon of Nov. 19.

Jason Bundy, a DNA analyst with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, took the stand next. He said DNA results from the phone cradle could not be understood because of how many people were detected.

Dr. Kevin Mcelfresh, a forensic DNA analyst, testified next, saying that DNA discovered on a phone cradle did not belong to Avila-Quinones. This contradicted a defense expert.

And with that, the state wrapped up its rebuttal.

Both sides made their closing argument on Tuesday morning. Assistant State Attorney Jon Fuchs said Segura shot Peters seven to eight times, and at least 10 rounds were fired. The kids were murdered too, he argued.

Fuchs repeated the alleged motive: That Segura owed thousands in child support.

Defense Attorney Nathan Prince said police didn’t do a good enough job evaluating the evidence discovered a Jack McLean Park several days after the murders. He also mentioned that Peters scratched an attacker, but Segura didn’t have that many scratches on him.

If the jury decides to convict, the case could move to a penalty phase as early as Thursday. Segura could face the death penalty.

Stay with and the LawNewz Network for continuing coverage of the case.

[Screengrab via LawNewz Network]

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