Fate of Fabian now in jury's hands
LOCKHART —The fate of Robert Fabian is now in the jury’s hands.
Five days of testimony concluded Tuesday in the trial of Fabian, accused of killing his girlfriend, 21-year-old Sul Ross University student Zuzu Verk, during an argument late on Oct. 12, 2016 or early the next day, then hiding her body in a shallow grave in a brushy area near an Alpine subdivision about six miles away.
The case was moved to Lockhart in Caldwell County on a change of venue from Brewster County. The jury could find Fabian guilty of murder, manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide. He is also charged with tampering with a corpse.
The prosecution rested late on Tuesday then the defense followed suit without offering any witnesses. If the jury finds Fabian guilty, they will also determine his punishment.
In closing arguments, both sides returned to themes they pressed from the outset — the state contending that once the jury puts together pieces of evidence from more than two dozen witnesses they will see the whole picture and it will lead to no other conclusion than Fabian’s guilt; the defense insisting that despite the number of witnesses, no one actually saw Fabian commit a crime.
“This is a big picture case,” argued prosecutor Jane Starnes of the state Attorney General’s Office. “An old-fashioned murder case. We believe we have proved he killed Zuzu intentionally and knowingly.”
After going over the “clues” provided by various witnesses, she told jurors that Fabian believes he is a “mastermind” because he cleaned up the evidence. “You are smarter than that.”
Defense team leader Harold Lanford maintained it didn’t matter how many witnesses the state called, if they didn’t see anything, what they said on the stand was meaningless.
“This is a sad deal for everyone,” Barr said, then urged jurors to “put their emotions aside and do the right thing.”