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40 years after her death, closing arguments held in Robin Brooks' trial

Jury deliberations have started after both the defense and prosecution present their closing arguments Thursday.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — The family and friends of Robin Brooks have waited more than 40 years for justice and soon, in a Sacramento County courtroom, they will hear the jury's decision if the man accused of the 1980 crime will be found guilty or not.

Closing arguments took place Thursday at the Sacramento County Superior Court. Family, friends, former detectives filled the seats to hear the prosecution and defense argue their case. Deputy District Attorney Timothy Carr opened closing arguments by saying "a trial like this can be an uncomfortable moment. It can be uncomfortable because we confront the reality that humans are capable of any possible act.”

The man at the center of this case, Phillip Lee Wilson, was arrested in 2020 after genetic genealogy testing led detectives to him. DNA in the form of semen and blood from the crime scene was used to aid detectives. 

"Wilson was and is a charismatic man," Carr told the jury. "But he is, also as the evidence in this case shows, a man with the proclivity to create monstrous acts. This is a person who is evading. This is a person who is dancing around overwhelming evidence against him.”

Public Defender Thomas Clinkenbeard opened his argument by saying Wilson had a consensual relationship with Brooks and someone else killed her. That someone else? The defense pointed to a man named Norbert Holston who is no longer alive. At the time of Brooks' death, Holston was the boyfriend of her sister Maria at the time.

Holston was described as volatile and allegedly threatened to kill Robin and Maria, according to the defense from testimony. The defense is also pointing to Wilson’s blood found on the walls to be from a workplace injury and not consistent with the prosecution's argument that the blood was from Wilson cutting himself in the process of killing Brooks.

Clinkenbeard paused during this argument to say, "It is a tragic tragic case. Let's not loose sight of that. It doesn’t mean you should convict an innocent man because it’s a tragic case."

The jury has started to review the case and a verdict is expected soon. 

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