ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– In the hands of a jury. A man charged with murdering a Maryland corrections officer is waiting to learn his fate.
Weijia Jiang was in court for Wednesday’s closing arguments.
The jury started deliberating in the afternoon. If they find him guilty, then they’ll decide whether he’ll pay for the crime with his own life.
An Anne Arundel County jury is combing through mounds of evidence to decide if Lee Stephens, 32, stabbed a correctional officer to death inside prison walls.
It was July 2006 when 42-year-old Corporal David McGuinn’s blood was splattered all over a hallway at the now-closed Maryland House of Correction in Jessup.
Violence had plagued the facility for years. The slaying drove the state to shut it down in 2007.
Prosecutors say Stephens and Lamar Harris orchestrated a detailed plan to attack McGuinn during a nightly head count with a homemade knife because he was a “by the book” guard who got in their way.
They showed jurors graphic pictures and key pieces of evidence: A tank top covered in McGuinn’s blood found under Stephens’ bed.
Two inmates also testified for the state– one insisted he watched Stephens kill.
Prosecutors even brought in metal bars from the prison to show how easy it was for them to jam the locks and get out.
But Stephens’ lawyer argued it could have been any of the inmates nearby and said McGuinn’s blood ended up on several people.
He said: “What we have and what the evidence bore out was chaos. Was a contaminated crime scene, was a contaminated investigation.”
The judge issued a very strict gag order in this case. Prosecutors, defense attorneys, even family members are not allowed to talk until it’s over.
Harris, the co-defendant, was found not competent to stand trial. He’ll have another competency hearing in April.