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JURORS MAY REACH DECISION FRIDAY IN HAMMER SLAYING

SHARE JURORS MAY REACH DECISION FRIDAY IN HAMMER SLAYING

A jury is expected to decide Friday whether Jerry Lee Robertson is guilty of murdering a friend with a claw hammer after a fight over a Monopoly game.

Robertson and his then-wife, Cassie Robertson, were house guests of Gerald Thomas when the slaying occurred on Nov. 8, 1991. The trio had gone trick or treating together days earlier on Halloween and spent that afternoon playing Monopoly, said Deputy Salt Lake County Attorney Howard Lemcke."The outcome of the game did not please all the parties," the prosecutor said. Someone got mad and threw the game board across the room. A short time later, Thomas fell asleep.

Jerry Robertson told his wife, "Get the hammer," Lemcke told the jury during opening arguments. He said Cassie Robertson then hit Thomas in the head "hard enough that the hammer embeds in the man's skull.

"Mr. Thomas sits up screaming and shouting with what amounts to a tomahawk in the side of his head."

Lemcke said Jerry Robertson then pulled the hammer out and hit the victim 10 more times. While Thomas was still alive and moaning, he said the Robertsons went through his pants and stole his money and a veteran's check.

Days later in Nebraska, Lemcke said Jerry Robertson was partying with friends and family members and the discussion turned to who was the toughest among them. "Jerry Robertson started bragging to them about a killing they'd committed in Salt Lake City," he said.

But defense attorney Kellie Williams said the state will be unable to prove her client is a killer. "What you are going to hear is the testimony of the person who murdered Gerald Thomas - Cassie Robertson," she told jurors.

The now ex-wife of Jerry Robertson, Cassie Robertson has given many inconsistent statements about the slaying and has her own biases, Williams said.

In 1992, Cassie Robertson pleaded guilty to killing Thomas, then changed her mind and insisted she wasn't a murderer. Then she flip-flopped again and admitted she helped kill the 56-year-old man.

She had originally pleaded guilty in exchange for a prosecutors' agreement to reduce the charge if she testified against her husband. Her credibility may have been damaged, however, by her inconsistencies.

Jurors were also told that a lieutenant in Nebraska, who was apparently acquainted with Cassie Robertson, told Salt Lake police he believes she is a "pathological liar."

A friend found Thomas dead in his apartment at 435 E. South Temple. A claw hammer was located on the floor near the bed.