LIVE BLOG: Jurors dismissed; deliberations continue Wednesday morning in the Upatoi murder trial

LIVE BLOG: Jurors dismissed; deliberations continue Wednesday morning in the Upatoi murder trial
Published: Feb. 13, 2018 at 2:15 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 13, 2018 at 9:05 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Jurors have been dismissed for the evening in the Upatoi murder trial.

The first day of deliberations ended after only an hour Tuesday.

Rufus Burks, 17, stands accused in the deaths of Gloria Short, her son Caleb Short, and granddaughter Gianna Lindsey.

Suspects Raheem Gibson and Javarceay Tapley pleaded guilty before the jury was seated.

Before deliberations, attorneys on both sides used the day to argue their case, one last time.

"This story didn't end when Mr. Short found his family bloody and beaten to death, and it didn't end when Mr. Burks and his companions were arrested. So how will this story end?" says Assistant District Attorney, Christopher Williams.

All eyes were on Burks as the Upatoi trial comes to an end.

The State hoping to debunk the idea of the brutal deaths of Gloria Short, Caleb Short and Gianna Lindsey at their Upatoi home was a one-man show.

"Subduing three individuals, it wouldn't have, it couldn't have and didn't happen that way," says Al Whitaker, Chief District Attorney.

Defense attorney Jennifer Curry continues to point fingers at co-defendant Javarceay Tapley as being solely responsible for the brutal deaths. She argues her client, Rufus Burks, did not go inside the house on Bentley Drive.

"With that conviction of Javarceay Tapley, we got justice. But we won't have closure. This family won't have closure because they still won't know what happened inside that house. They won't know because Rufus Burks wasn't in there. He can't tell them because he doesn't know," said Defense Attorney Jennifer Curry.

The decision is now left in the hands of the 12 member jury.

Rufus Burks faces charges of murder, burglary, auto theft, and kidnapping. If found guilty, he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"We convict based on evidence, and the lack of evidence is what tells us beyond a reasonable doubt that Rufus Burks is not guilty," said Curry.

"The State asserts that beyond a reasonable doubt, the evidence shows that man, Rufus Burks, is guilty of all charges," said Whitaker.

The jurors will be back to deliberate Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Follow News Leader 9's Sharifa Jackson for updates.

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