MOULTRIE — Assistant Public Defender Jon McClure said Thursday whether Mack Trimble Jr. shot his estranged girlfriend Cegi Hall three times during a public fight last summer is not at issue in his murder trial. The issue, he said, is whether there were mitigating circumstances that don’t warrant a felony murder conviction but some lesser charge, such as manslaughter.

Witnesses said Trimble appeared quietly upset after he turned himself in. In statements to police, Trimble said he acted before he thought. He is accused of chasing down Hall after a scuffle at a late night cafe, shooting her in the upper thigh and lower back as she ran into the middle of the street where she finally fell with a bullet in the back of her head.

All evidence was in at the end of the day, and closing arguments begin Friday morning. Just as he was about to be called to the stand, Superior Court Judge Richard Cowart again advised Trimble of his rights, and the defendant changed his mind and chose not to testify.

Absent from the prosecution’s case is any police reports Hall had submitted against Trimble allegedly threatening her. Assistant District Attorney Brian McDaniel said a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in recent years treats a “she-said” report as hearsay; however, witnesses responding to McClure’s questioning testified that the defendant told them that Hall had aborted a four-month pregnancy in Jacksonville, Fla., without his knowledge. The alleged abortion had upset him tremendously, they said, so much so that he continued to dwell on it up until the shooting. No physical or testimonial evidence, except police statements from the defendant, suggest that Hall had an abortion.

Friends and family testified throughout the trial that Trimble and Hall had an up-and-down relationship but for the most part it seemed normal. Trimble’s grandmother said Hall would badger Trimble over money, which he provided for her and their son, and in the process had heard her say, “You ain’t no man. You ain’t no man.”

Trimble’s mother, Cynthia Henry, described both as jealous of each other. She and Hall’s mother had advised them to leave each other alone, she testified.

Despite the defense’s objection, the prosecution was allowed to submit almost all autopsy photos. McClure said the photos would be prejudicial against Trimble, especially since they were taken after Hall’s heart, eyes and other tissue had been harvested. Trimble kept his head on his hands folded on the defense table as the jury viewed autopsy photos projected on an overhead screen.

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