Defense calls no witnesses in Hambel murder trial

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After almost a week of state witness testimony, the defense team for Joe Hambel, 30, accused of shooting and killing his cousin, Valerie Shelton Dicus, 37, and her boyfriend, Joe Hobson, in August 2016, called no witnesses to testify on his behalf.

Monday morning started out with members of the gallery being told to leave the courtroom before the jury even entered. After a few hours, a juror was escorted from the building and, upon the gallery's reentry to the courtroom, one of the jury alternates was placed in the seat of the excused juror.

The state rested, meaning the prosecution intends to bring no more witnesses. After placing Hambel under oath, he testified he received full information regarding his right to testify or remain silent and informed the court of his decision not to testify on his own behalf.

Following some debate as to whether Judge Larry Medlock should not include counts 3 and 4, the charges of felony murder for both Dicus and Hobson, that request from the defense was denied and the defense rested as well.

Closing arguments and final instructions will be given tomorrow, along with a possible decision on the case.

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