Deliberation continues in Medlyn’s murder trial |

Deliberation continues in Medlyn’s murder trial

Jurors will continue to deliberate today on whether to convict Steven Medlyn of murdering Grass Valley resident Mary Spratt last year.

Jury members began their decision-making process Tuesday afternoon after Nevada County Assistant District Attorney Anna Ferguson and Keri Goodrow, of the Public Defender’s office, presented their closing arguments.

They were expected to take at least a day in their deliberations, Ferguson said.

She pressed the point that 35-year-old Medlyn strangled 75-year-old Spratt with an old dog leash because she had reported him to the police for allegedly stealing from her and also because he wanted her medication and $400 in bingo winnings.

Medlyn was waiting in Spratt’s apartment for her to return from her weekly bingo game at the Grass Valley Elks Lodge, Ferguson argued.

Ferguson narrated in vivid detail the prosecution’s version of how events may have unfolded on the night of May 3, 2007, when Spratt was murdered.

“When Mary Spratt came back from playing bingo, she came in through the front door and went to the bathroom,” Ferguson said. That’s where Medlyn attacked her, possibly from behind, Ferguson added.

“He slammed her body against the bathtub (which broke some of her ribs), and as she was thrashing about, the toilet seat fell over,” Ferguson said.

Nothing in Spratt’s apartment was missing except for her purse, where she kept her medication and money, Ferguson argued.

“This isn’t a random burglary,” Ferguson said. “The burglar knew exactly what he was coming to get. What was valuable to him was her purse, where she kept her cash and prescription drugs.”

Ferguson also drew attention to testimony that Spratt’s dog wasn’t heard barking as it probably would have if a stranger had come into the house and committed the crime.

In addition, Medlyn’s DNA was found on the green dog leash with which Spratt was strangled, Ferguson said.

Medlyn walked dog

Spratt and Medlyn exchanged oxycontin, a pain medication, according to investigators in the case. While Spratt took pain medication for her arthritis, Medlyn became addicted to similar medicines after a work-related injury in 2003, Goodrow said earlier in the trial.

Goodrow argued that “the evidence is insufficient to prove Steve Medlyn was in Mary Spratt’s house on May 3 or 4.”

In addition, Medlyn sometimes walked Spratt’s dog, explaining how his DNA could gotten on the leash.

She blamed the police for not investigating all the leads in the case, alleged that some of the investigators may have jumped to a conclusion and called into question their credibility.

Spratt sometimes left her front and back doors unlocked. The crime could have been committed by anyone who knew Spratt’s schedule, Goodrow said.

“If this was about drugs, why didn’t he take the other drugs (in Spratt’s apartment)?” Goodrow said of her client.

Ferguson urged the jury to convict Medlyn on first degree murder and first degree burglary. According to her, Medlyn was “lying in wait” for Spratt and attacked her “from a position of advantage” and killed her.

As Ferguson finished her arguments, a photograph from her presentation to the jurors lingered on a large flat screen on the wall opposite the jury. It was a close-up of Spratt’s body – her flushed throat bearing a rust-colored impression of the leash with which she was strangled.

To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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