UPDATE: Jury begins deliberation in McCowan case
UPDATE, 4:56 p.m.: With closing arguments concluded, the jury began deliberation Monday afternoon to decide whether Okemos resident Connor McCowan is guilty in the stabbing death of MSU student Andrew Singler.
The jury might choose to convict Connor McCowan with 1st-degree murder, 2nd-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter in Singler’s stabbing, Judge Clinton Canady III said in his instructions to the jury in Ingham County Circuit Court. They also might find McCowan not guilty.
In order to find McCowan guilty of 1st-degree murder, the jury must unanimously agree that McCowan planned Singler’s homicide and intended to kill him. The charge carries a mandatory term of life in prison.
“There must have been real and substantial reflection,” Canady said.
Judge Clinton Canady III confers with Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Dewane and defense attorney Chris Bergstrom during the trial of Connor McCowan, Oct. 14, 2013, at Ingham County Circuit Court in Lansing. The trial, which began Oct. 1, is set to hear closing arguments from the prosecution and defense. Danyelle Morrow/The State News
Connor McCowan watches his former high school athletic trainer testify during his trial as a character witness Monday at Ingham County Circuit Court in Lansing. McCowan was found guilty of second-degree murder Tuesday. Danyelle Morrow/The State News
A conviction of 2nd degree murder indicates that the jury believed McCowan intended to kill or do great bodily harm to Singler, but did not premeditate his killing.
Judge Canady said McCowan could be convicted of voluntary manslaughter if the jury agrees he acted out of passion or anger without time to calm himself.
As the jury deliberated in a private room, Meridian Township police Sgt. Andrew McCready paced the nearly empty courtroom, flipping a coin.
Both sides began presenting their closing arguments in the trial of Okemos resident Connor McCowan Monday morning in Ingham County Circuit Court.
McCowan is accused of stabbing and killing MSU student Andrew Singler after a text messaging argument between the two escalated to physical blows on Feb. 23. The jury will deliberate over whether McCowan is guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter.
In his argument, Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Dewane said the degree of Singler’s initial attack on McCowan didn’t warrant McCowan’s retaliation, which his attorney Chris Bergstrom claimed was out of self-defense.
“Murder begins where self-defense ends,” Dewane said. “This is not an event where McCowan was justified for killing Andrew Singler after being punched once in the eye.”
Dewane said McCowan would not have driven to Singler’s apartment to confront him if he feared Singler would harm him.
Bergstrom said the close relationship between Singler and McCowan proves McCowan did not come to Singler’s apartment with the intent to murder.
“Andrew became Connor’s big brother,” Bergstrom said. “It just simply defies common sense with what we know about relationships, where the little brother is going to go over and kill his big brother.”
McCowan potentially could face life in prison if he is convicted.