It's been exactly two weeks since the jury in the Doug Grant murder case began to deliberate his fate. The panel returned to work this morning, and some close to the case suspect that a verdict finally may be near.
The basis for that belief are questions the jury has had in the past few days for Superior Court Judge Meg Mahoney, who presided over the months-long trial in downtown Phoenix.
On the face of it, those questions may not bode well for Mr. Grant. According to various sources, the jurors apparently asked the judge about the legal definitions of second-degree murder and manslaughter. (That is curious only because the jury instructions carefully spell out the definitions.)
Grant originally was indicted on one count of premeditated first-degree murder in the mysterious 2001 death of his wife Faylene, and the jury still could convict him of that charge.
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But prosecutor Juan Martinez threw a curve at the defense team late in the trial when he asked the judge to allow the jury to consider lesser charges -- specifically second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Grant's defense attorney, Mel McDonald, fought hard against the inclusion of the lesser charges, but Martinez won the day.
It remains to be seen if the jury will opt to find the former Phoenix Suns nutritionist guilty of one of those so-called "lessers," either of which carry potentially long prison terms.
At this point, nothing that might happen in this twisted and tragic case will come as a shock to most of those (perhaps family members aside) who have tracked it closely.