As we predicted in our earlier post, the defense is indeed switching strategies in the retrial. When we spoke with Bill DuBois, defendant Jose Merel's new attorney, back in January, he hinted that he might put Merel on the stand. As it turns out, both Merel and Michael Magidson will take the stand. Merel will reportedly testify that he cared deeply for Araujo and only wanted to "menace" her, not physically hurt her. Magidson, meanwhile, is expected to say that he didn't mean to kill her. Meanwhile, Tony Serra, representing the third defendant, Jason Cazares, is sticking to his original strategy in arguing that Cazares wasn't involved at all and is innocent of all charges. Serra has repeatedly challenged the truthfulness of the prosecution's star witness, Jaron Nabors, who participated in the killing and pled to manslaughter in exchange for his testimony.
Last time around, the jury never got past deliberation on the murder charge, so the members of the jury never had an opportunity to discuss a lesser count of manslaughter. Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Chris Lamiero maintained at the time of the mistrial and in our conversation with him in January that he felt secure that the jury rejected the manslaughter argument, though one of the original jurors has indicated that he seems to feel otherwise.
Now that we know the retrial is under way, we'll be keeping a close eye on it. More to come, we're sure.