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Published: Friday, 9/5/2008

'93 murder case is likely to go to jury today

Wilson Wilson
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The murder trial for Robert Wilson, who is charged in the 1993 death of Brenda Navarre, will continue with closing arguments today in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Visiting Judge James Barber, of Fulton County Common Pleas Court, concluded yesterday's proceedings early in the afternoon after both the state and defense rested to give attorneys time to prepare jury instructions.

The jury of seven men and five women is expected to begin deliberations later today.

Wilson, 52, is charged with murder for the death of Ms. Navarre, a 33-year-old mother of five who worked as an informant for the Toledo Police Department's vice narcotics unit. She was found Dec. 1, 1993, in the 1200 block of Paxton Street with a severe head injury. She died the next day.

In opening statements, county Assistant Prosecutor Michael Loisel said Ms. Navarre bought crack cocaine from Wilson while working with police. He said that Wilson dropped a 110-pound rock on Ms. Navarre's head because she told authorities about his activities.

Yesterday, Diane Barnett, a county deputy coroner, testified that Ms. Navarre died from blunt-force trauma to the head.

Additionally, cold-case Detective Bart Beavers testified that the case remained unsolved for a decade until Wilson's wife approached detectives for the first time in 2003.

Janet Wilson offered limited testimony Wednesday about her statements to police. Judge Barber ruled before her testimony that she could not talk about conversations or conduct that occurred when she was alone with her husband because Wilson invoked his spousal privilege.

Defense attorney Ronnie Wingate told jurors there was no physical evidence in the case because police had destroyed it. He also pointed out police received numerous tips, but it was only when Mrs. Wilson came forward that Wilson became a suspect. He added that Mrs. Wilson admitted on the witness stand that she fabricated statements in the past, although police said that her statements to detectives were consistent.

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