Hadden Clark's attorneys wrapped up their case yesterday without calling him to the stand to rebut charges that he killed Michele Dorr in 1986, as his whereabouts on the afternoon the girl disappeared became the final focus of the three-week trial.
Closing arguments are scheduled for this morning, and the jury is expected to get the case about lunch time.
Lawyers who have observed the trial have long speculated that Clark would not take the stand in his defense because prosecutors could then have tried to question him about his conviction in the 1992 slaying of Laura Houghteling, 23, of Bethesda. Clark, who pleaded guilty to Houghteling's murder before leading police to her shallow grave, is serving 30 years in prison.
Jurors have been told that he is in prison, but Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Michael D. Mason ruled that the jury would be unduly prejudiced if they knew Clark had been convicted of another murder.
Yesterday, prosecutors and defense attorneys focused their questions on when a key witness saw Clark's truck in the neighborhood.
Prosecutors have argued that Clark slashed Michele with a butcher knife after discovering her in his brother's home, which was two doors from where her father lived. Michele had wandered in looking for Clark's niece, who was her favorite playmate, prosecutors said.
The defense cross-examined the husband of a Silver Spring woman who had testified that she saw Clark's white pickup in the driveway of his brother's home about 3 p.m. the day Michele vanished.
Fabian Generao's wife, Pat, testified that she remembered the time because it was shortly after her husband left for work at Holy Cross Hospital.
But Clark's attorneys questioned whether Fabian Generao's shift actually started at 2:30 p.m., as hospital records indicated. Generao insisted that he reported to work at 3 p.m. and that he always left home about 2:45 p.m.
Generao's testimony is at odds with Clark's timecard, which shows he clocked in at his job in the kitchen of Chevy Chase Country Club at 2:46 p.m. that day. That would not have left him enough time to kill Michele after she went missing, clean up her blood and hide her body before reporting to work, Clark's attorneys have argued.
Prosecutors have argued that Clark had a friend punch in his timecard to create an alibi.
Michele's father, Carl Dorr, testified earlier that he last saw his daughter splashing in a turtle-shaped play pool in his back yard between 12:30 and 3 p.m., saying he wasn't keeping close track of time on a lazy Saturday afternoon.
Clark's attorneys also attacked prosecution testimony that police cadaver dogs had alerted their handlers to an area of disturbed soil in Clark's family burial plot in a Cape Cod cemetery. Prosecutors have argued that the dogs' alerts showed that Clark buried Michele near his father's headstone before exhuming her body six years later and hiding it again. Her body has not been found.
Jurors were shown a document from a New England funeral home stating that Clark's grandmother, whose headstone lies next to the one where the disturbed soil was found, was not embalmed before her remains were cremated in 1985. One of the police dog's handlers had testified that cadaver dogs have been known to respond to the cremated remains of unembalmed bodies.