Jury gets the Lippe case

After more than three weeks of testimony from dozens of witnesses and five (!) hours of closing arguments today, the seven women and five men on the Werner Lippe jury began deliberating if he was guilty of murdering his wife, Faith, and burning her in a backyard barrel behind their Cortlandt home.

Click here to read my stories from the trial.

The jury sent out a note at 6:45 p.m. — a little over an hour into their deliberations — asking the judge for clarification on involuntary statements and about Miranda rights. Defense lawyer Andrew Rubin, in his three-hour closing statement, insisted that Lippe gave an involuntary confession to state police investigators because Lippe asked to speak to his lawyer twice and they kept talking to him. Lippe was given his Miranda warning (“You have the right to remain silent ….”) and asked point-blank if he really wanted a lawyer, to which he replied, “No, no hold on a minute.”

Westchester County Judge Barbara Zambelli called it a night at 7:30 p.m. and sent the jurors to a local hotel for the night. She is known for sequestering juries in murder trials. They will resume deliberations around 9:30 a.m. tomorrow

Lippe takes the stand

werner lippeInteresting day in the Westchester County Courthouse … Cortlandt jeweler Werner Lippe spent all day testifying in his own defense, namely that the confession he gave to police — the one about knocking his wife unconscious, dragging her body into a backyard burn barrel and incinerating her remains — was a great big lie.

Click here to read my update of this morning’s testimony.

Lippe, wearing a navy suit and white mock turtleneck, was calm and confident as he explained — at times in lots and lots of detail — what he was doing when he last saw his wife leave their home (make that mansion, I saw the pictures) and what he said and did with friends and police in the weeks following Faith Lippe’s disappearance.

His attorney, Andrew Rubin, had to keep Lippe in line, telling him several times to answer only his questions and not to go off on tangents. The nearly six hours of questioning ended with Rubin asking, “Did you kill Faith?” and Lippe replying, “No!”

Prosecutors will get their chance at Lippe on Thursday. The judge declared Wednesday a snow day based on the weather forecast and hears her other non-jury cases on Tuesdays.