The case of Gene Leroy Hart, charged with the slaying of three Girl Scouts in 1977, went to the jury today.
Hart wept quietly as his attorneys declared in closing arguments that he was "railroaded" and alleged that a Kansas convict, Bill Stevens, "murdered the little girls."
Stevens, who is serving a prison term in Kansas for convictions of rape and kidnaping, was eliminated as a suspect by prosecutors who said the hair and sperm found on the bodies of the victims were not his.
The prosecution built its case on the point that hair and sperm found on the victims' bodies were probably hart's.
But experts said no positive comparison is possible in such a scientific test.
Hart, 35, is charged on first-degree murder counts in June 13, 1977, slayings of three Girls Scouts who were found strangled, beaten and sexually molested at a summer camp 19 miles south of Pryor, Okla.
Attorneys for Hart based their defense on an alini that Hart was in Tulsa at the time of the murders, that Stevens was the more likely as suspect, and that the prosecution's evidence was circumstanial.
Their claim that Stevens was the killer was supported by calling witnesses who said they saw Stevens in the area.
Dean Boyd, who was working as a waitress in 1977 at a restaurant 11 miles from the death scene, testified a man she identified as Stevens walked into her restaurant the day of the killings.
"He was awful dirty," she testified. "His actions would have scared anybody. I was scared. He kept looking at his shoes."
Larry short, 19, of Okmulgee, testified that Stevens came to his house the day of the slayings "jittery and nervous," dirty with a "red stain on his boots."
Short and his mother, Joyce Paine, 39, testified that a flashlight found beside the bodies of the girls was one the loaned to Stevens a month before the killings "to go fishing." The flashlight had been linked to Hart in earlier testimony because masking tape found on the light allegedly came from a roll of tape discovered at Hart's boyhood home near the camp.
Gart's attorney, Garvin Isaacs, in his closing argument, pretended he was questioning the absent Stevens int he witness stand.
"Is it true Mr. Stevens that after you murdered thost little girls, your fingerprints were all ove the flashlight?" Isaacs asked the empty witness chair.
At that point, special prosecutor S.M. (Buddy) Fallis, of Tulsa, leaped to his feet and screamed, "Objection, your honor. That was never brought out in testimony."
Isaacs charged toward Falis and pointed his finger 12 inches away from the prosecutor's nose and declared, "Sir, that's a lie and you know it! Sir that's a lie and you know it! Sir, that's a lie and you know it!"
Fallis responded, "Sir, you are certainly easy with that word for a man in your position."
District Judge William J. Whistler called both lawyers to the bench and in a voice loud enough to be heard by most in the courtroom threatened Isaacs with contempt of court "unless you settle down." Isaacs claimed Hart was in Tulsa at the time of the killings.
"We had three little girls in that Girl Scout camp brutally murdered, raped and sodomized by this-Gene Leroy Hart" Shaffer said, pointing to the defendant.