AUGUSTA — A jury of eight women and four men will resume deliberations Thursday in a case where a Waterville man is accused of killing 92-year-old Aurele Fecteau in May 2014 by stabbing him 16 times.

Justice Michaela Murphy sent the jury home Wednesday about 5 p.m. after they deliberated about 2 1/2 hours following closing arguments on the fifth day of the murder trial of Roland Cummings, 46, of Waterville, at the Capital Judicial Center.

Murphy warned them against reading any news reports about the case in the meantime.

At closing arguments Wednesday, the prosecutor told jurors that Cummings pried open the door of Fecteau’s Waterville house and then stabbed Fecteau through his bedcovers as he slept on the night of May 20, 2014. Cummings then fled with valuables, Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea said.

Cummings is accused of murdering Fecteau, burglarizing the house and stealing two of Fecteau’s rings.

Cummings, who has been in custody since shortly after Fecteau’s body was discovered May 23, 2014, wore a white long-sleeved dress shirt on Wednesday in contrast to the blue shirt he has worn throughout the trial.

The jurors have not heard from him. He opted against testifying at the trial that began a week ago.

On Wednesday, defense attorney Darrick Banda countered Zainea’s argument by saying that evidence of Cummings’ DNA on the turned-out pockets of three pairs of Fecteau’s pants piled next to the dead man’s bed did not prove his client was there at the time of the murder. Banda instead raised doubt by pointing to another possible suspect — Fecteau’s son David.

The state medical examiner testified that several of the blows to Fecteau would have been fatal on their own.

On Wednesday during his closing argument, Banda showed a photo of the dead man in his bed, mouth open, right hand atop the white blanket, blood smeared on a pillow and drops of blood on the headboard and elsewhere.

A day earlier, a forensic scientist from the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory testified that she found Cummings’ DNA profile on the pants’ pockets.

Zainea held up the three pairs of trousers as well as the red, long-sleeved shirt he was wearing as she summed up the evidence in the case against Cummings.

She cited phone records that showed the last time Aurele Fecteau used his telephone was May 20, 2014, in a phone call with his daughter Ann Bucknam. She also told jurors that Cummings was present when rings that had belonged to Aurele Fecteau were pawned in Skowhegan on May 22, 2014.

“And lo and behold his DNA is on one of these rings,” Zainea said.

She quoted a line from Banda’s opening statement where he said that “Being a thief does not make one a murderer.”

Then she put her own spin on it: “In this case, it proves that being a thief does make one a murderer.”

She urged the jury to follow common sense and reason and the evidence as the police did.

“The evidence will lead you to the defendant,” Zainea said.

Banda said Cummings was the easy target and that police should have looked more in depth at David Fecteau, the youngest son of Aurele Fecteau, who lacked an alibi for that week and had been angered by his father’s sale of a family boat that he wanted.

“What I’m really saying is: Who is the one that did that?” Banda asked. “What has been proven beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt?”

He said, “A lot of times common sense and reason is code for, ‘You fill in the gaps.'”

Banda said the 16 stab wounds inflicted on Aurele Fecteau showed it to be a crime of passion. Banda smacked his hand loudly 16 times on the wooden railing of the jury box.

“Whoever did that wanted Aurele dead, and he was filled with rage,” Banda said.

He asked why a “smash-and-grab burglar” would have disturbed only the two bedrooms in Cummings’ otherwise neatly kept home, left financial documents and Aurele Fecteau’s will spread across his bed, and left behind two rifles hanging on a wall.

About two dozen people, including a number of Aurele Fecteau’s relatives and several of Cummings’ relatives, listened to the attorneys’ closing arguments, which lasted more than three hours Wednesday.

The jury began deliberations after 2:30 p.m. and court officers carried into the room the plastic-wrapped pants, shirts and rings submitted into evidence along with numerous photographs of the scene, and a large exterior door from Fecteau’s home that bore stab marks.

Jurors are scheduled to return to the courthouse to continue deliberations at 9 a.m.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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