Attorney in Suffolk murder trial collapses during closing argument
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A defense attorney collapsed yesterday as he was explaining to jurors that no forensic evidence links his client to a North Amityville woman he's accused of killing.
More than 2 1/2 hours into his closing argument, defense attorney William Keahon's knees buckled and he fell into the prosecution table, bringing the trial to an abrupt halt.
Keahon represents David Newbeck, 36, of Massapequa. He's charged with second-degree murder in the death of Mandy Jo Jenkins, 30, who was shot to death on Aug. 23, 2010. Prosecutors say Newbeck killed her because she refused to withdraw identity theft charges against his girlfriend.
"Mr. Keahon did pass out," Suffolk County Court Judge John Toomey Jr. told jurors after they returned to the courtroom. "His blood pressure was a little high, but I believe he'll be all right. He's just exhausted."
Keahon, 69, was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead. Toomey said closing arguments will resume Monday morning.
Before he collapsed, Keahon ridiculed the lack of forensic evidence and claimed motive for the crime.
Pointing to prosecutors, he said, "This table would have you believe that David Newbeck shot Miss Jenkins in the head four times and once in the chest because a girlfriend was facing a charge of a $485 theft."
Keahon said the prosecution has relied on a "parade of characters" burdened with their own criminal histories. A key witness, Brian Mulhauser, told jurors last week about Newbeck's plans to move Jenkins' body, which he had dumped in Lindenhurst.
"Mulhauser is so untrustworthy that both a GPS and an alcohol sensor were strapped to his ankle," Keahon said. "This is their star witness."
Keahon said it made no sense that none of Jenkins' blood or hair was found in Newbeck's Chevrolet Trailblazer, which police seized the same day they say he shot her, wrapped her in tarps and took her body from where she lived in a warehouse to Lindenhurst.
Jenkins' boyfriend, Joseph DeFelice, told police Newbeck did it. Although DeFelice was convicted last fall for his role in the murder, setting Jenkins up to be killed, Keahon said, "Everyone was buying the baloney Joe DeFelice was selling."
Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla will give his closing argument Monday. In his opening statement a month ago, he told jurors Newbeck bragged about killing Jenkins to several people. Surveillance video and cellphone data also tracked his movements that day and when the body was to be moved, he said.