CHULA VISTA (CNS) - Two young women should be found guilty of murder and conspiracy in the death of an 18-year-old woman in National City, a prosecutor told jurors Monday.
Antoinette Dokes, 19, and Rachael Wheelis, 21, were in a dispute with the victim over a relationship with a Marine, which culminated with the April 17, 2009, fatal stabbing, Deputy District Attorney Gregg McClain told jurors in his closing argument.
The defendants' conflict with Justine Brown led to an "ill-advised" conspiracy and, ultimately, the fatal confrontation at the victim's E. 9th Avenue apartment, McClain said.
"Was it murder? The answer to that is unequivocally yes," McClain told the eight-woman, four-man jury.
The prosecutor displayed for jurors a series of surveillance tapes from a Wal-Mart store on the day Brown was killed. The footage shows the defendants drive into the parking lot, walk into the store, purchase a knife and crowbar, and have a clerk slit open the weapon's plastic packaging -- before they leave the store and return to their vehicle.
"At this point, ladies and gentlemen, you have two ladies on a mission," McClain said.
Defense attorneys were scheduled to address the jury later in the day.
When the trial began, defense attorney Daniel Mangarin told the jury that Dokes was defending herself when she stabbed Brown, who outweighed her by 70 pounds.
On April 12, 2009, Brown became upset when Wheelis and a Marine dropped off the Marine's car, according to Mangarin.
Over the next five days, Brown committed acts of vandalism and threatened them, Mangarin told the jury.
The lawyer said Wheelis drove Dokes to Brown's apartment so Dokes could explain to Brown what was going on. Once there, they got into a hair-pulling, all-out fight, and Dokes grabbed the knife and slashed Brown three times -- in the leg, chest and shoulder, Mangarin said.
Brown was pronounced dead at UCSD Medical Center.
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