Jurors starting deliberations Monday in the trial of a man accused of gunning down his sister's boyfriend were asked to decide if it was a calculated act by someone bent on murder or a case of self-defense, clouded by mental illness.
It was never in dispute during six days of testimony that Jarrod Miller, 30, killed Timothy Neuer, 29, in the Alexander Valley home Neuer shared with Miller's younger sister, Mandy.
But both sides disagreed on the motive and Miller's state-of-mind.
Shooting At Home On Alexander Valley Road In Healdsburg
District Attorney Jill Ravitch, trying her first case since her 2010 election, said in closing arguments that Miller was unhappy about losing financial support from his sister and developed a scheme to "execute" the man he saw as the cause.
He drove a rental car to Nevada, bought a handgun and returned to Sonoma County with it, Ravitch said.
Within days of the purchase, Miller came to Neuer's house, stood in his living room and shot him three times, including once in the head.
In a calm voice, Miller then turned to his sister, who was a witness, and said, "It's going to be alright," and left, Ravitch said.
"That is first-degree murder, ladies and gentlemen," Ravitch told jurors.
Miller's lawyer, Joe Bisbiglia, offered a different take on Neuer's death and asked jurors to consider a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter based on a form of self defense.
Miller bought the gun not to kill Neuer, but to protect himself if someone tried to steal the marijuana Neuer was growing at his Alexander Valley house and his mobile home in Cloverdale where Miller was staying, Bisbiglia said.