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Andrew Mixemong homicide trial jury set to begin deliberations

04/27/2015 04:42 EDT | Updated 07/31/2015 04:59 EDT
The jury in the murder trial of two men accused of violently beating an indigenous man to death in Midland, Ont., nearly three years ago is set to begin deliberations Tuesday.

Jessy Herlichka's lawyer, Robert Richardson, wrapped up his defence this afternoon, paving the way for the jury to consider the fates of the accused. 

Herlichka, now 29, and his co-accused, Paul McClung, also 29, were charged with second-degree murder in the July 2012 death of Andrew Mixemong.

The 59-year-old Mixemong died of his injuries shortly after being attacked behind Dino's deli, where his wife was an employee. The night of the attack he was picking her up from work when he intervened in a heated exchange between Herlichka and McClung and staff at the deli.

Surveillance footage viewed at the trial showed Mixemong confronting the pair after they approached his wife near the dumpsters behind the eatery.

Herlichka's lawyer told the Barrie court that his client was fuelled by drugs and alcohol and "could clearly not form the intent to commit murder" in the state he was in.

"Who, out of the blue, hits someone so hard it breaks their face?" he said during his closing arguments. "This isn't normal behaviour — not for me, not for you, not for Jessy."

Two witnesses who tried to stop the beating both testified that Herlichka seemed drunk. He had earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but the Crown rejected the plea. 

McClung allegedly prevented other people from intervening in the attack and encouraged Herlichka throughout. His lawyer, Chris Hansen, argued there was no intent to kill Mixemong. 

"My guy was just standing there. If he was showing any encouragement at all, it was to back up a friend in a fight. There was no specific intent to get anyone to commit murder," he said.

The judge will issue the jury instructions Tuesday morning before they begin deliberations. 

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