May be a Small Victory for James Fagone in Court
11/20/2006 (KFSN) -- The special defense for the man accused of helping a Clovis woman kill her husband and place his body in a barrel of acid is "duress." Fagone's lawyer says he only helped Larissa Schuster because she threatened his life.
It's a small victory for 24 year old James Fagone, who is accused of torturing and murdering Timothy Schuster in 2003. A judge ruled he can bring in witnesses and evidence to support the theory Larissa Schuster forced Fagone to help kidnap her estranged husband and put his body in a barrel of acid.
Police say Fagone confessed to the crime. But according to court documents, he also sai, "Schuster is real forceful... She's a real strong person...[Who] Has a way of controlling everything."
Over the objections of the prosecution, the judge will also allow the defense to call six witnesses, including Schuster's manicurist, neighbors and former co-workers, who say they're afraid of her and have heard her make threats in the past.
The law says "duress" is not a murder defense. But, ABC 30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi says it can still help Fagone. He says, "The prosecution has to build a fence block by block. All the defense has to do is pull out one block, the entire wall falls and the prosecution falls.
Fagone may also get to tell his own story. His attorney says he now expects him to take the stand in his own defense.
Larissa Schuster's attorney couldn't be reached for comment today, but in the past, he's said Schuster's version of events is different than what Fagone supposedly told police.
Fagone's trial will start next week and Schuster's wont begin until February.
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