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Ross Murder Case Now in the Hands of Judge

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- It was the final trial day for an Eastern Iowa man accused of murder, but it could be a while before we see a verdict.

Tajh Ross is charged with killing 19-year-old Latasha Roundtree back in September of 2012 as she was on her way to a party. In closing arguments Tuesday, both Prosecutor Nick Maybanks and Public Defender Doug Davis tried to leave a lasting impression with the judge.

Maybanks - He [Tajh] wanted to be the shooter, he wanted to have the gun, and he wanted to have control of it.

Davis - He didn't know what to do with that gun. He didn't want to set it down for fear of someone might use it

On the subject of threats to the party, the question lingered as to why no one called police.

Davis - Those threats were not taken to be serious at that time. You heard testimony throughout this case that no one took those threats to mean anything.

Maybanks fired back.

Maybanks - You can't have it both ways. You can't say that the threat wasn't taken seriously, and then at one sense, all of a sudden, it was. That's not how this transpired.

The prosecution argues the shooting itself was no accident, as Ross aimed at Latasha's car.

Maybanks - Obviously he was out to prove something because he interjected into somebody else's battle that night, when any other reasonable person would take an alternative course of action.

The defense says the gun accidentally went off as Ross was raising it in the air to scare away the slow moving car.

Davis - He wanted to protect his buddy Liban. So he said 'Liban, look out, duck'.

The reliability of the witnesses and co-defendants was also questioned again.

Maybanks - Where it matters the witnesses corroborated each other, and where it matters the witnesses corroborated the physical evidence.

The defense saw it another way.

Davis - They wanted to see what they could do to minimize their own involvement in this matter, and get the most favorable outcome.

Ultimately, Maybanks says the evidence - and the intent - are there.

Maybanks - We ask the court to find guilty verdicts on all four of those counts.

And as Ross is lead out the courtroom, blowing a kiss at his supporters seated in the back, we'll have to wait and see if the judge agrees.

With no jury in this bench trial, it's the judge who will render the final verdict. It could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. In addition, upon request by Ross's attorneys, the verdict won't be read in open court.
Stay with CBS 2 news, as we'll let you know as soon as the verdict is available.

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- This morning provided the final opportunity for attorneys to make their final arguments to the judge in the murder of Latasha Roundtree. Tajh Ross requested a bench trial, meaning that there is no jury, and the ruling will come down from the judge.

It has been established in the case that there were threats made to the party Latasha was set to attend. The prosecution argues that Ross purposely fired the weapon at the car carrying Latasha that night.

Meanwhile, the defense argues that Ross thought the car appeared to be suspicious as it was rolling by and saw the window roll down. He also said the gun accidentally went off as he was trying to fire a warning shot and protect his friend.

The ruling will not be read in open court and is expected to take a few weeks.

Ross faces charges of first degree murder, intimidation with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit a forceable felony and going armed with intent. He faces life in prison if convicted.



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