Chadron’s first murder trial in 13 years is almost in the hands of the jury.

Both sides in the case of 20-year old Ian “Sage” Little Moon rested this morning with closing arguments expected shortly after court reconvenes at 12:30. 

    Little Moon is charged with 1st-degree murder and felony use of a deadly weapon in the death of 72-year old John “JD” Martinez, the live-in significant other of Little Moon’s older sister and father of two of her children. He died of 5 gunshots to the head.

     The only witness called this morning was a ballistics specialist with the Nebraska State Patrol Crime lab, who went over in great detail the .22 rifle used to kill Martinez and the magazines it uses.

     The gun is a semi-automatic and normally requires the trigger to be pulled every time to fire, but the specialist admitted under cross-examination that a video sent to her by the defense showed a .22 firing multiple rounds on one trigger pull – a “bump fire.”

    The prosecution rested after her testimony and the defense followed suit without calling a witness.  Lead defense counsel Todd Lancaster of the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy had said in his opening the issue wasn’t whether Little Moon killed Martinez, it was if he intended to do so, and if not, the proper charge was manslaughter.

     With the jury out of the courtroom, Lancaster twice asked District Judge Travis O’Gorman to issue a directed verdict on Not Guilty on the charge of 1st degree murder because the state had failed to show premeditation.

      Lead prosecutor and Assistant Attorney General Doug Warner argued that Little Moon going to his brother’s room, getting his rifle – which he kept there – loading it, and going to Martinez’s bedroom was evidence of premeditation. O’Gorman denied the motions, saying it was still an issue for the jury to decide.