OGDEN -- Video admissions in a darkened hotel room dueled for a jury's attention with defense claims of other suspects as Robert McCullar's murder trial wound down Thursday.
"An alternate theory of the crime screams at you," McCullar's public defender Jim Retallick told the jury in closing arguments.
But jurors also saw McCullar in a shadowy hotel room video describe the murder of Filiberto Robles Bedolla.
After three hours of closing arguments, the case went to the 2nd District Court jury about 12:30 p.m. Thursday. Judge W. Brent West sent the jury home at 5 p.m., with deliberations to begin again at 9 a.m. today
McCullar, 50, is charged with murder in the Dec. 22, 2009, stabbing death of Bedolla, 49, at 2560 Adams Ave. The confrontation began when Bedolla appropriated McCullar's cigarette, then used a racial slur and spit on him.
Retallick argued throughout the six-day trial that the crime scene evidence doesn't match McCullar's admissions to a girlfriend that were taped by police.
McCullar said he jumped Bedolla inside his apartment door, catching it before it closed. He had stalked Bedolla for an hour or more.
But Bedolla's body was found on his bed, some 16 feet from the door in the small apartment with blood spattered on the headboard and adjacent wall. No other signs of a struggle were found in the apartment.
Also, McCullar said he used a piece of glass he picked up from a broken bottle on the ground outside the apartment to slash Bedolla's throat. But an autopsy by the State Medical Examiner's Office found 14 stab wounds to Bedolla's head and neck were made by a knife with a single-edge blade, not a jagged piece of glass.
In McCullar's damning statements to his girlfriend in the hotel, captured by police in the next room running two video cameras with audio hidden in a clock and a clock radio, he talked about the gaping slash he made in Bedolla's throat.
"It just opened up," he is heard saying on the video, which Weber County Attorney Dee Smith replayed several times for the jury during his closing arguments.
McCullar is seen placing a finger on the girlfriend's throat to demonstrate where he slashed Bedolla.
He also told her the scene wasn't as bloody as rumored.
"He didn't struggle that much," he's heard to say clearly on the video, where much of what he said unintelligible.
"But you can hear her clearly, her responses, such as when she says 'You slashed an artery?' " Smith advised the jury.
Retallick argued that McCullar was simply bragging about the killing.
It happens in the Ogden inner city with people hoping to build "street cred," he said. Plus McCullar, he said, was also trying to impress the girlfriend to convince her to move with him to Dallas.
The 47-year-old, 4-foot-11, heroin-addicted, prostitute girlfriend, however, was working with police to get McCullar, who acted as her pimp, to describe the murder. She also was able to spring herself from jail on drug charges by helping the murder investigation.
The alternate theory Retallick offered the jury: "It looks to me like the victim was getting ready to have sex.
"He and the killer walk back to the bed. He gets on the bed. He lays back, closes his eyes. And is stabbed viciously about the face and neck."
A picture of a prostitute friend of his he kept on the headboard was missing, Retallick said, all of which makes her a suspect.
But Smith said the bed scene was obviously staged, a pornographic video left playing in the DVD player at the foot of the bed, the victim's blood found on the remote and the cassette case.
All potential suspects were checked by police for weeks at a time, he said, in the six-week investigation that led to McCullar's arrest in February 2010.
"But when you have a client who's confessed to murder, you throw everything against the wall to see what will stick," Smith said of Retallick's alternate theories.
McCullar has been held without bail in the Weber County Jail since his arrest.