Jury Deliberates in Riverdale Quadruple Murder Trial

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    NEWSLETTERS

    After two and a half hours of deliberations, the jury in the Darrell Bellard murder trial goes home for the day. Chris Gordon reports. (Published Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014)

    Closing arguments wrapped up Wednesday in the first-degree murder trial of a man accused of killing two women and two children over drugs, and the jury is deliberating.

    Prosecutors say Darrell Lynn Bellard and his girlfriend killed 38-year-old Dawn Yvette Brooks, her children 3-year-old Shayla Shante Sikyala and 4-year-old Shakur Sylvester Sikyala, and their aunt 41-year-old Mwasiti Sikyala.

    The family was found dead inside a trash-filled apartment above a garage in Riverdale, Md., in 2010.

    Bellard could have faced the death penalty, but the law was abolished last year. He now faces life in prison without parole, a sentence Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks says Bellard will likely receive if convicted.

    Bellard’s girlfriend T'Keisha Gilmer pleaded guilty and, in exchange for a lighter sentence, testified as the prosecution’s star witness, saying that Bellard brought 60 pounds of marijuana from Texas to sell in the D.C. area. When some of the pot disappeared from Brooks’ home, Bellard killed Brooks' stepsister, raging that he wanted to know where drugs were. Brooks said she didn’t know. Gilmer testified she watched as Bellard shot and killed Brooks and her children.

    In Wednesday's closing arguments, one of Bellard's defense lawyers told the jury missing physical evidence proves reasonable doubt that Bellard committed the murders, but the prosecutor said, "In an effort to conceal these murders, he cleaned up and threw away the gun."

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