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Closing arguments next in Shelton case
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MONROE - The jury may begin deliberating tonight to decide whether Casey Shelton is responsible for the death of his 2-month-old son.

Both the state and defense concluded their cases Friday in Green County Circuit Court. Closing arguments are expected to be made tonight, followed by jury instructions. Judge James Beer will decide whether to have the jury begin deliberations tonight or Saturday.

Shelton, 32, Brodhead, is charged with first-degree reckless homicide, a class B felony, in connection with the Feb. 28, 2007, death of his son, Christopher. He faces 60 years in prison, if convicted.

On Friday, Shelton's attorney, Michael Murphy, tried to refute charges that Shelton abused his children. Shelton did not testify during the trial.

A prosecution pathologist testified earlier this week that the cause of Christopher's death was bleeding on both sides of the brain due to very recent trauma. Shelton was alone with the children when he called 911 on at about 6:30 p.m. Feb. 28, 2007, for an ambulance at their residence in Decatur township because Christopher had stopped breathing. Shelton told emergency responders Christopher began to choke while he was being fed. Christopher was pronounced dead later that evening at Mercy Hospital in Janesville. Christopher's mother, Amy Uptegraw, had left the residence for work at about 11 a.m. that day.

Friday's proceedings began with the jury viewing a videotape of Uptegraw telling Green County Sheriff's Department detectives on April 20, 2007, that Shelton abused the children and her.

Murphy questioned Uptegraw, trying to find inconsistencies in her statements.

Uptegraw told detectives Terry Argue and Kevin Bohren that Shelton threw Christopher's twin brother, Charles, to the floor on Feb. 26 and then refused to let her take the baby to the doctor or call an ambulance; held the children up by their feet; stuffed rags in their mouths when they would cry; and often carried the boys by the front of their sleepers.

She said there were times when one of the babies would cry and Shelton would take the baby into the bedroom. She said she thought she heard him slap the children.

Under cross examination, Uptegraw said she never actually saw Shelton slap the children, but thought he had slapped them. She said she never saw any marks on the children to indicate that Shelton had actually slapped them.

Uptegraw also told detectives Shelton verbally and physically abused her. She recounted an incident on Thanksgiving Day 2005 when she said he pulled her hair and hit her in the face at least four times. She also said Shelton head-butted her in February 2007, causing a concussion.

Murphy questioned why no one else saw her injuries if Shelton hit her on Thanksgiving Day, since family members came to their apartment in Decatur township later in the day for dinner. He also asked Uptegraw why no one had seen her bruises when Shelton head-butted her and caused a concussion. Uptegraw said she didn't know why no one else saw her injuries.

She also admitted no one else saw Shelton abuse the children besides her.

Two witnesses called on Shelton's behalf testified that Uptegraw does not have a good reputation for telling the truth.

The court called a recess at about 4:30 p.m. to meet with attorneys to finalize jury instructions. The case will resume at about 6 p.m., with closing arguments by Assistant District Attorney Jeff Kohl and Murphy.