Douglas also took aim at several of the 23 witnesses the state called. He told the jury they changed aspects of their testimonies from their initial statements. That included Jerry Miller, who testified he had an encounter with him while driving home from work that day.
“Everybody wants to add something,” Douglas said. “Everyone wants to have their 15 minutes of fame. Everybody wants to contribute to what they think is a good cause, which is to convict my client.”
Assistant District Attorney Lori Puckett accused Douglas of calling the witnesses liars and said his assertion was ludicrous. She said everything that took place is a direct result of Peters’ decision to use drugs.
“A reasonable person knows what drugs they take and how much,” Puckett told the jury on rebuttal. “Drugs don’t magically appear in your body. Drugs get in your body when we do something to put them there.”
Puckett also took time to defend Safari, who was not wearing her seat belt and may have been using her cell phone at the time of the collision. Douglas told the jury those actions could have contributed to her death.
“You are here to determine what Mark Allen Peters did,” Puckett said. “It’s not your job to determine if Safari McDoulett did anything wrong. It’s not the State vs. Safari McDoulett. This accident wasn’t caused by Safari. It was caused by that man. To say she would have survived if she had been buckled up is offensive.”
When District Judge Tracy Schumacher read the guilty verdicts, Peters stared at the 12-person jury. His two family members, the only people sitting on the left side of the court room, quietly began to weep. However, the more than 50 family, friends and coworkers of Safari who filled the right side of the room also remained silent.