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`NEMO’ SAYS HE WAS `BEATEN, BRUTALIZED’

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Eugene "Captain Nemo" Woodland told a jury Friday that he's an innocent man and that he hopes to be setting world speedboat records on Utah Lake soon.

Woodland, who's accused of slaying businessman Bruce Larson, will have to put his ambitions on hold for at least a few more days. The prosecution and defense rested at the conclusion of his rambling testimony.Closing arguments and jury deliberations are scheduled for Tuesday.

Friday, Woodland adamantly denied killing Larson, 40, on March 28, 1990. He called the Sandy contractor "the finest human being I've ever met."

Woodland also echoed prior claims that he's the victim of a setup.

In his testimony, the 64-year-old great-grandfather recalled his activities the day Larson was gunned down inside Woodland's failed "Captain Nemo's Dinner Theater" at 4050 S. 900 East.

While on a routine afternoon walk around the theater, Woodland said, he was chased by two men into an adjoining apartment complex and "beaten and brutalized."

"They kicked me, knocked me down and stomped on me," he said. "Then (Glenn) Fisk took a revolver and put it to my neck before I pushed him away. (Fisk) shot himself in the hand as he tried to steady the gun."

Both Fisk and the other man testified earlier that they tried to apprehend Woodland moments after he shot Larson.

Woodland also said the two guns used to kill Larson and later injure Fisk were planted on him by rival real estate developer Robert Massey shortly after he was frisked by police.

"Massey slipped a gun in my coat pocket," he said. "He was the only one there who would have had anything to gain."

At the time of Larson's death, Massey was converting Woodland's previously foreclosed building into a discotheque.

Woodland added that he learned of Larson's death on a police radio moments after his alleged beating.

During the subsequent cross-examination, Woodland told Salt Lake County attorney Ann Boyden that he faintly recognized the guns used in Larson's murder as his own. He said they were stored in the dinner theater at the time.

Friday's testimony was long in coming. Since the shooting, Woodland has spent most of his time in the Utah State Hospital. He was ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial several times before 3rd District Judge Anne M. Stirba decided Woodland was mentally fit to stand trial this year.