Jury deliberates Doisy murder case

Attorneys made closing arguments Friday.

Attorneys in the Becky Doisy murder trial made their closing arguments to the jury Friday. Defendant Johnny Wright is on trial for the murder of Doisy, a former MU student last seen in 1976.

The prosecution’s claim is that, from numerous witness statements, Wright murdered Doisy and eventually fled Columbia to escape prosecution.

Assistant Prosecutor Richard Hicks said Wright leaving Columbia after Doisy’s disappearance is an indicator of guilt.

“He is the last person who is seen with her,” he said. “He actually admits it. He leaves Columbia Thursday night. That night she goes missing. He goes to St. Louis before anyone knows she’s missing. Now he knows what he’s done. These are actions of a man who has something to hide.”

Following Doisy’s disappearance, Wright changed his social security number and name to Errol Rodney Edwards and moved to Georgia.

“It wasn’t just a new name,” Hicks said. “It was a Social Security number that wasn’t his. It was a birthday that wasn’t his. It was a totally new identity.”

Defense attorney Cleveland Tyson argued the evidence doesn’t prove that Johnny Wright committed the crime. He also suggested that other witnesses, including Harry Moore and William Simmons, might have something to do with the murder.

“Their entire case depends on words, nothing they can physically substantiate,” Tyson said. “You’re going to convict Johnny Wright over conversations over a bottle at a methadone clinic and crap talking? Please.”

In his closing argument, Tyson said Wright had been getting death threats and attributed his move out of Columbia to negative pressure put on him.

“He was afraid,” Tyson said. “He didn’t want to come back to Columbia because he was scared. I’m asking you to be fair. Be fair to Johnny.”

Hicks said the move was because of guilt, not fear.

“He did leave because he was afraid,” Hicks said. “He knew that he murdered Becky Doisy. He knew that the Columbia Police Department wasn’t going to let it die. He knew that there was the potential still that he was going to be prosecuted.”

The jury is currently reviewing the case. Stay with The Maneater for updates on this case.

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