Defense Rests, Closing Arguments Slated for Thursday in Lake George Fatal Boat Crash Trial
QUEENSBURY, N.Y. -- Two and a half weeks after the trial began, Alexander West's lawyers have rested their case. The Lake George man is charged with fleeing the scene of a deadly boat crash last July that he caused while drunk and high on drugs.
After a break Tuesday, three defense witnesses testified Wednesday morning. Martin West, the father of Alex West, was the final witness to take the stand before defense attorneys rested their case.
Martin West, who's been in the gallery every day of this trial, testified he received the first of two phone calls from police at around 11:30 the night of the crash, but wasn't initially told his boat or his son were involved in a deadly crash.
"I got the sensation they were checking me out. He asked if I was working; that was pretty much the conversation,” West said, adding that he was concerned.
He said an attempt to reach his son through text messaging was unsuccessful.
He testified he didn't see or speak with his son until 6:30 or 7 the next morning, when he woke up to find him in his bedroom.
While hearsay rules prevented lawyers asking Martin specifically what was told to Alex or what his response was, Martin said his son's reaction was "utter disbelief" when being told a young girl had died in the crash.
After court let out for the day, defense lawyer Cheryl Coleman said the elder West's testimony proves that Alex had no reason to believe there was serious injury or death.
During cross examination, prosecutors asked Martin: "Whatever was going on during [Log Bay Day] you would have no direct knowledge of?" to which West replied "yes."
Prosecutors hope to drive the point home that Martin West's testimony is not relevant to his son's trial.
After Martin's testimony was complete, Alex West told the judge he would not be testifying on his own behalf. Coleman says it boils down to the fact that her client's testimony would have allowed prosecutors to introduce West's toxicology report from the morning after the crash as evidence.
"It would have been very irresponsible of me to make a decision that would have let those results in, and at the end of the day, I just couldn't do it," said Cheryl Coleman, the defense attorney.
Between prosecution and defense witnesses, 40 individuals testified in West's trial.
Closing arguments will be held Thursday morning, and we will have full coverage on Spectrum News.