PORTLAND — A jury will continue deliberations Thursday in a case in which David W. Marble Jr. is accused of executing two people in Manchester early on Christmas Day in 2015, crimes the prosecution says were retribution for a burglary of Marble’s apartment.

Marble, 32, of Rochester, New York, went on trial in Cumberland County Superior Court last week on two charges of intentional or knowing murder after the case was moved from Kennebec County following intensive coverage.

Marble is accused of killing Eric Williams, 35, and Bonnie Royer, 26, two Augusta residents, about 3:30 a.m. that day as they sat in a Chevrolet Trailblazer on Sanford Road.

About 20 people — relatives and and friends of the victims — watched closing arguments Wednesday morning, and most remained throughout the afternoon, hoping to hear the verdicts.

However, jurors indicated they would deliberate until 4:40 p.m. and then were dismissed for the day. The six women and men are expected to return at 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning to continue their work.

The judge finished instructions by 12:40 p.m. Wednesday, and jurors began deliberations at 1:15 p.m..

The jury sent a note just after 3:30 p.m. requesting a large pad of paper and transcripts of two interviews with Marble: one by detectives shortly after his arrest, and one by a reporter with WROC television in Rochester, New York, that took place months later at the Kennebec County jail. That is according to Assistant Attorney General Meg Elam, who talked to the news media after updating the victims’ families.

In her instructions, Justice Michaela Murphy told jurors they should consider each murder charge separately and return a verdict of guilty if they find Marble was a principal or an accomplice in the murder based on the evidence presented.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Marchese, in closing arguments, told jurors that state presented enough evidence for them to find Marble guilty.

She said Marble at the time was “a 29-year-old rapper” who came to Maine a few months before the murders. She said Marble told police and an interviewer with a Rochester television station that “he liked the women and he liked the weed in Maine.”

Prosecutors say the shooting deaths were revenge for Williams’ role in burglarizing Marble’s Augusta apartment while he was on a drug run. A police affidavit says Williams, two other men and a woman — not Royer — stole televisions, backpacks, a gun and drugs from the Sewall Street apartment between 12:30 and 1:15 a.m. Dec. 25, 2015, after learning Marble was being driven to Westbrook, meaning the drug or “stash” house would be unoccupied.

“The burglary of David Marble’s apartment is the last straw for David Marble. … He’s furious. He’s been broken into,” she said, adding that Marble immediately suspected Williams was responsible.

Marchese cited Marble’s interest in playing chess, something he told interviewers he calls “the life game.”

“In David Marble’s game of chess, he’s run out of moves,” Marchese said in closing. She referred repeatedly to testimony indicating Marble’s cellphone was located that night along a route to and from the Summerhaven gravel pit where the bodies were found, and to testimony by Timothy Bragg, who fingered Marble as the shooter. Bragg said he drove Marble from the scene, and he admitted buying two firearms for Marble, one of which was determined to be the murder weapon.

Marchese said Williams was Marble’s “center guy,” someone who supplied him with weed. But Marble also told detectives that Williams “was messing with people — in other words, shorting them or skimming product off the top.”

Marchese said Marble shot each victim once, got into the back seat of Bragg’s vehicle and was driven off briefly before telling Bragg he thought he dropped his cellphone.

Marchese said Marble shot Royer again on that brief return visit.

The medical examiner testified that Williams was shot once and Royer twice.

Royer made a 911 call from the scene.

In opening statements last week, prosecutors said Marble shot Williams and Royer in the head as he sat behind them in Williams’ SUV early that morning.

Marble’s attorney, Jon Gale, told jurors that the state has no forensic evidence tying Marble to the crime.

“They did not provide you with hard evidence to convince you that David Marble killed these people,” Gale said. He noted that the murder weapon never was found and that Bragg said Marble threw it into the Kennebec River in Augusta. Gale also said investigators haven’t located Marble’s fingerprints or DNA in the SUV or his shoe prints in the sand next to Williams’ vehicle. Gale also said investigators focused too soon on Marble as the lone suspect and that Marble wanted to break someone’s jaw rather than kill someone. He also said Bragg changed the stories he told police, and that police should have focused more on an individual referred to in court only as “Metro,” who had ridden to and from the slaying scene in the front seat of Bragg’s car.

Gale added, “Every single witness who was not working for the government signed an immunity agreement” against prosecution.

He told jurors, “They did not provide you with hard evidence to convince you that David Marble killed these people.”

In rebuttal, Marchese spoke more loudly than she had previously. “There is hard evidence in this case that 12 minutes before the 911 call came in, David Marble is texting, saying, ‘I am with Eric.’ They are in the car together.”

She told jurors, “His vigilante justice is murder.”

Marble, who was arrested and charged four days after the murders, was also referenced by Gov. Paul LePage in early 2016, when he said that drug dealers come to Maine with names such as “D-Money, Smoothie and Shifty” and “half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave.” D-Money, or Dee-Monday, is an alias of Marble’s, but the references to the alias have been removed from most court documents because his lawyers are concerned it could be inflammatory, given LePage’s use of it.

Marble, who was convicted previously in New York of robbery and drug possession, did not testify at his trial.

On Wednesday morning, Marble, who was unshackled, entered the courtroom from a side door. Wearing a white, long-sleeved shirt, gray trousers, a tie and glasses, he shook hands with his attorney, Gale, and the two conferred briefly at the defense table.

Marble has been in custody since his arrest Dec. 29, 2015.

Along with the two murder charges, Marble was indicted on a related charge of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.

Marchese said Marble waived a jury trial on that count.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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