Jury Deliberations Set in Murder Trial of Former Dover School Cu - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Jury Deliberations Underway in Murder Trial of Former Dover School Custodian

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DOVER, Del.- Jury deliberations are set in the trial of a former custodian charged with murder in the shooting of a man outside a Dover elementary school.

Jurors were to begin deliberating the fate of 54-year-old Rodney West on Thursday after hearing closing arguments the day before. 

West is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of Derrick Combs, 39, at Towne Point Elementary School on Aug. 28, 2018. He also faces one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

In their closing arguments, prosecutors argued West shot Combs four times--twice while Combs was on the ground---in the parking lot of West's workplace.

Deputy Attorney General Sean Motoyoshi said Combs had been upset after learning of text messages of a flirtatious nature between Combs' wife, who had previously worked at Towne Point Elementary School, and West.

But Motoyoshi said Combs merely wanted to fight West--not shoot him.

However, defense attorney Joe Hurley said West had been chronically harassed by Combs for weeks with threatening text messages and phone calls. He also said Combs stalked West on his way to and from work and even confronted West multiple times--possibly with a gun.

Hurley also targeted the credibility of witnesses like Combs' wife, Lesley, and Combs' cousin, who testified to being with Combs when the shooting happened, alleging the relatives changed their stories during the trial.

During their deliberations, jurors will determine if West is guilty of first-degree murder but may also consider whether to instead convict him on a lesser charge such as second-degree murder, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide.

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