Both sides rest in West Greenwich murder trial


WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Both the prosecution and defense rested their cases Wednesday in the murder trial of Christian Lepore.

Lepore is charged with murdering 62-year-old John O’Neil at O’Neil’s home in West Greenwich last year.

Rhode Island State Police’s lead detective in the case and a toxicology expert were the last of 14 witnesses to testify for the prosection. Prosecutors also showed surveillance video from inside Lepore’s holding cell, hours after they say Lepore beat O’Neil to death.

Lepore is also accused of attacking three officers, a state trooper, and the trooper’s K-9 officer who responded to the crime scene.

According to Wednesday morning’s testimony, Lepore’s preliminary drug tests came back positive for marijuana and oxycodone. However, later tests came back negative. A toxicology expert testified that traces of marijuana can remain in the body up to three to four weeks, while oxycodone can stay in the body for three to four days.

The defense called their first and only witness Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Ronald Stewart, an expert in forensic psychiatry who said Lepore suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Stewart said the defendant suffered an acute psychotic break when he allegedly committed the killing.

“He was agitated, he was acutely delusional and couldn’t – in my opinion – differentiate right from wrong,” Stewart said.

Stewart claimed Lepore believes aliens are tracking him using helicopters and tracking devices in his clothing. He also said Lepore’s family has a history of schizophrenia but admitted during cross examination that he never verified that information.

The prosecution plans to call their own medical expert as a rebuttal witness on Tuesday. After that, the judge will hear closing arguments and either find Lepore guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity.

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