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Jurors start deliberations in second Craigslist killing trial

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on April 13, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
April 13, 2011 1:51 pm

Jurors have begun deliberating the fate of a 22-year-old woman accused in a home-invasion robbery last year during which an Edgewood father was killed.

Prosecutors have charged Amanda Knight with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and two counts of second-degree assault. She pleaded not guilty.

She’s the second of four defendants to go to trial in the slaying of Jim Sanders, 43. Attorneys delivered closing arguments in the trial this morning.

Knight testified Tuesday that she took part in the crimes only because her co-defendants threatened to hurt her and her family if she didn’t.

Prosecutors allege Knight and Kiyoshi Higashi went to Sanders’ home April 28, 2010, after Sanders listed a diamond ring for sale on Craigslist. The two posed as buyers, and Higashi pulled a gun after they entered the home.

Higashi and Knight bound Sanders and his wife, Charlene, and then signaled to two men waiting outside to enter the house, according to prosecutors.

Those men – Clabon Berniard and Joshua Reese – herded the Sanders’ two sons at gunpoint into the kitchen with their parents, prosecutors allege.

Jim and Charlene Sanders were beaten and threatened with death before Jim Sanders broke free and fought with the robbers, according to testimony during Higashi’s trial.

Sanders was fatally shot, and the robbers fled with jewelry, a laptop computer, cellphones and other items.

A jury found Higashi, 23, guilty of similar charges last month. Berniard and Reese have pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges and await trial.

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