awaits verdict in the Brevard double-homicide case
Double-homicide trial in hands of jury: Prosecutors and defense attorneys
presented their closing arguments in Patrick Wharen's trial on State and
defense attorneys delivered closing arguments this morning and a jury has begun
deliberating the fate of Patrick Wharen Sr., who is accused of killing his
estranged wife and another man with whom she lived.
Wharen, 41, is accused of 2 counts of 1st-degree premeditated murder and one
charge of attempted manslaughter. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Neither side disputes that Wharen shot and killed his estranged wife, Kelly
Wharen, 34, and a 19-year-old man with whom she lived, Jonathon Vuick, in April
2008. They dispute whether Wharen Sr. premeditated the killings.
Defense attorneys asked the jury to consider less severe charges, saying their
client acted in the heat of passion.
They said Wharen Sr. was “living in hell” for months after separating from his
wife and didn’t react previously after a series of confrontations with her. He
was pushed over the edge when one of his children came to him crying after a
fight with Kelly Wharen, they said.
They also said the night of the shootings, Wharen Sr. went to get his wife
Assistant State Attorney Greg Konieczka argued that Wharen Sr. went to the home
intending to kill his wife and Vuick. He first shot Kelly Wharen, who ran back
into the home, then was confronted by his son, Patrick Wharen Jr., age 15 at
the time, who tried to take the gun.
The 45-caliber handgun fired once in the father-and-son confrontation, wounding
both of them.
Prosecutors said Wharen Sr. then continued to the home and fired 7 shots
through the front door, hitting Vuick. He went into the home and shot his wife
again several times, according to prosecutors.
“Is that an accident?" Konieczka asked the jury. “It's deliberate and it’s
Following jury instructions by Judge Jack Griesbaum, the 12-member jury began
deliberating on the charges. If they find Wharen Sr. guilty of 1st-degree
premeditated murder, he could face the death penalty. A 2nd phase of trial
would determine the sentence.
Wharen Sr. is being held in Brevard County jail but appeared in court for trial
wearing a suit.
(source: Florida Today)