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Jury To Start Deliberations In ‘Sweetheart Murders’ Case

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The defense tried one last time Friday to convince a jury the man on trial for the “Sweetheart Murders” three decades ago didn’t do it.

The jury in the murder trial of Richard Hirschfield will start deliberations Monday after both sides got a chance to sway the jury one last time Friday.

Defense attorney Linda Parisi tried again in closing arguments to give the jury no other option but to acquit Hirschfield.

“It is the only just verdict and that’s not guilty,” she said. “Does it cause you to question whether or not Mr. Hirschfield is responsible? Does it raise a reasonable doubt? And I would submit to you, it does.”

Hirschfield is accused of torturing and killing John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves back in December 1980. The 18-year-old UC Davis students were kidnapped and found dumped near Lake Natoma two days later.

Hirschfield was linked by DNA years later in 2004 from a blanket found in Riggins’ van.

“This blanket is not taken care of very well,” Parisi said.

Parisi again took aim at possible mistreatment of the evidence and the fact that others were arrested for the crimes in the past.

“There’s no confusion in those confessions,” she said.

In her rebuttal, prosecutor Dawn Bladet insisted there’s only one man who could have committed the crime. DNA exonerated the other suspects.

“Confuse ‘em, smoke and mirrors, let’s detract from the DNA folks,” prosecutor Dawn Bladet told the jury. “One in 240 trillion. That is the compelling evidence in this case, and that’s why they want you to ignore it. Don’t be fooled by these tactics.”

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