JOSHUA TREE — The attorneys prosecuting and defending Rafael Ari Aikens both made their closing arguments to the jury Wednesday, Aug. 21. Here's what they said before jurors went behind closed doors to deliberate.
The prosecution: Executed in cold blood
Deputy District Attorney Justin Crocker painted a picture of Rafael Aikens taking his friend’s 4Runner from the barracks, driving to the crime scene with his gun, walking into the house and engaging in some kind of sexual activity with Christy McKissic before shooting her in the head less than 30 minutes later.
“What happened in that bedroom for that half-hour leading up to that first bullet going into Christy McKissic’s skull? We don’t know,” Crocker said. “Did he want to have sex with her one last time before he killed her? Was he unable to perform and she said something to set him off? We don’t know.”
Crocker said the evidence showed that after the first shot, Metcalf ran into the room and was shot in the leg. She then turned around and was shot in the back.
“Those wounds alone would have killed her,” he said. “The shot to the back was fatal within minutes at most hours. It tore apart Ms. Metcalf.”
But, Crocker said, Aikens wasn’t done. He delivered a final kill shots to McKissic’s and then Metcalf’s skulls as he left the room. He walked next door, where Metcalf’s 10-year-old daughter was hiding on the bed and pointed the gun at her, Crocker said.
“Thankfully, he was out of bullets.”
He conceded that several pieces of evidence were never found: several bullet fragments from the crime scene; a condom, although a portion of a condom wrapper was found in McKissic’s bedroom; McKissic’s phone; and the magazine to the gun.
“This case will give you a thousand questions that you’ll want answered,” Crocker said. “Unfortunately, I can’t answer all of them.”
“The defendant executed these two woman in cold blood,” he told the jury. “Went on with his life as if nothing happened that weekend and then lied to police when he was asked questions about his gun, his knowledge of Christy McKissic and his relationship with her.”
After the defense made his closing statement, Crocker was allowed to present a final rebuttal. He replayed the 911 call that Christy McKissic’s daughter made the night of her mother’s and grandmother’s homicides. The girl can be heard crying out for her mom.
“Who do you believe, those Marines and that little girl or the defendant?” Crocker asked the jury.
The defense: No DNA evidence, no motive
Defense attorney Donald Calabria told the jury there was no physical evidence to support a conviction.
“He gave you a nice story and he gave you theory but you’re here to evaluate evidence that you’ve seen,” Calabria said, responding to the prosecution’s closing statements.
Calabria questioned the story presented by the prosecution. He said they had no proof that Aikens was ever at the house on the night of the shootings. Calabria also pointed out that the prosecution did not present evidence on a motive for Aikens to kill Metcalf and McKissic.
“There is no motive,” he said.
“She was a booty call, she wanted a relationship with him, he didn’t want a relationship with her — that doesn’t arise to an occasion to commit murder.”
He reminded the jurors that, along with no motive, the prosecution also found no DNA evidence to link Aikens to the crime scene. Male DNA was found on Christy Mckissic’s body, but it could not be identified as Aikens.
There was also no DNA evidence of Aikens in the Toyota 4Runner and no evidence that the 4Runner was ever at the scene of the crime.
“There is no blood in the Toyota. There’s nothing on the floor board. There’s nothing to indicate that that was the car being used,” Calabria said. “The Toyota has absolutely zero evidentiary value.”
He urged jurors to agree with him that there was reasonable doubt because the prosecution had not proven their case.