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Shane trial sent to jury

WORTHINGTON -- Closing arguments ended the trial of Lisa Marie Shane on Friday afternoon. Now it's up to the jury to deliberate and come back with a verdict.

Several jury members and Chief Public Defender James Fleming looked quite surprised when Judge David Christensen told the jury to pick a foreman before they were excused for the day Friday and come back at 9 a.m. today to start deliberation. Hours later, the jury was told to return on Monday instead.

The lengthy court day started with the testimony of the defendant, who is charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of child neglect in the death of her three-month-old daughter Ashanta.

Shane said her romantic relationship with Jose Chavarria had lasted more than two years. Over the course of those years she bore him two children, of which Ashanta was the youngest.

She told the jury that on Oct. 28, 2004, Chavarria was due to be released from jail. She had already told him he could not live with her and the children until he went through drug treament and found a job.

He came to her home in Adrian at approximately 11:30 a.m., Shane said, and asked to see the babies. She brought him back to her room and let him hold Ashanta. While she was in another room she heard the baby cry. Shane took the baby from him and an argument ensued. Chavarria pushed her and she dropped the baby.

"I remember hearing the thud," Shane said. "She was really red and crying non-stop."

On cross-examination, Assistant Attorney General William Klumpp pointed out to Shane that she was now saying she didn't see the baby hit the metal futon frame, as she had told law enforcement, but heard it.

Shane admitted she had not told medical personnel the truth when she brought the baby into the emergency room some 12 hours after the child was injured.

"You told (Special Agent) Paul Soppeland you would give your life for your child, but you weren't willing to tell doctors what had happened so they could help her, were you?" Klumpp asked.

During closing arguments, Klumpp told the jury, "The truth is not in her." He asked them to make a choice between modern medical science, the laws of physics and common sense versus a self-serving, make-believe story.

"She has given more versions of what happened that day than I can keep track of," he added.

Klumpp said there is no evidence of Chavarria ever being in Adrian of the day of the incident, but Fleming told the jury much of the state's evidence in this case is based on speculation.

"They want you to believe she was hiding and running," Fleming said. "She may be somewhat articulate, but she did not murder her baby."

Fleming pointed out that the alibi of Chavarria was his cousin, a woman Fleming called "Belinda 'I don't remember' Ramos-Duran." He told the jury others who corroborated Chavarria's story are "thieves and druggies."

"Don't think for a minute the Sioux Falls Police didn't believe her, because they did," Fleming insisted.

Fleming held up a photo of Chavarria and Ashanta from shortly after she was born that was taken in the hospital, and asked the jury why Chavarria would be afraid to enter the hospital in October 2004 because of a misdemeanor warrant from 2003 if he had gone there in July or August of 2004 to hold the baby.

He warned the jury that when they rendered a verdict it would not be a passive act.

"Members of the jury, Lisa Shane is in your hands," he said.