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Long IslandSuffolk

Prosecutor: Defendant is 'dumbbell' who killed woman

Left: This Feb. 8, 2010 police photo shows

Left: This Feb. 8, 2010 police photo shows Evans Ganthier, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, who is charged with killing of Rebecca Koster. Right: This undated handout photo shows Rebecca Koster, of Medford, who went missing on Dec. 4, 2009 after partying with friends. Her charred body was found in Connecticut. Photo Credit: Handout

A Suffolk prosecutor Wednesday scornfully dismissed the defense theory that a Medford woman died after drunkenly tripping over dumbbells in a Port Jefferson Station man's garage, and not from being stabbed to death.

"People fall all the time," Assistant District Attorney Janet Albertson said during her closing argument at the trial of Evans Ganthier, 33, in State Supreme Court in Riverhead. "You're not going to fall in a garage floor and lacerate your liver."

Jurors began deliberating Wednesday evening. Ganthier is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Rebecca Koster, 24, who he'd met hours before her death on Dec. 4, 2009, at a Holbrook bar.

Ganthier has admitted that after Koster died, he mutilated her, took the body to Connecticut and set it on fire.

Defense attorney William Keahon argued Tuesday and Wednesday there was no evidence Koster was stabbed.

Instead, he said the injury to her liver was consistent with Ganthier's story that she tripped and died.

Albertson rejected that in a closing argument that left family members of both Ganthier and Koster in tears.

"The dumbbell that fell into Rebecca is that one," she said, pointing at Ganthier. "The 220-pound dumbbell."

Albertson said Koster left her home at 4:30 a.m. and got in Ganthier's car.

"That girl made the stupidest decision of her life, and it ended her life," she said. "She met with violence in that car."

Ganthier told police Koster started gagging on the way to his house. Keahon said it was because she was so intoxicated, but Albertson said it was because she'd been stabbed in the neck and abdomen.

She pointed to Koster's blood found on both sides of the console between the front seats of Ganthier's car, and a pool of it beneath the driver's seat.

"That's not from transporting her body," Albertson said. "That blood shouldn't be there, even according to the defendant's cockamamie story."

She said Ganthier cut off Koster's fingers, toes, ears, nose and two tattoos not because he panicked after she died, but because he had just killed her.

"That's not panic," Albertson said. "That's sick and twisted."

The same applied to him setting her body on fire, she said. "If that's not consciousness of guilt, I don't know what is."

Even more telling, however, was when Ganthier used Koster's phone to send text messages to her mother, saying she was tied up in her boyfriend's basement, Albertson said.

"Innocent people don't do things like this," she said.

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