DENVER - Jurors began deliberating Friday and broke for the day without a verdict in the trial of a man accused of killing and dismembering a 16-year-old girl in 2010.
The jury will continue deliberations Monday.
Edward Romero is trying to convince a jury his multiple personalities caused him to "black out" from time to time, making him incapable of knowing the difference between right and wrong at the time of the death of Alicia Martinez.
Closing arguments in the trial got underway right around the lunch hour on Friday. Romero has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
"It's time for us to have a frank discussion about mental health," said public defender Arnold Beckman during closing arguments. "[We need] to stop pretending that mentally ill people don't exist."
Beckman told the jury that Romero suffers from disassociation identity disorder, a controversial diagnosis that has plenty of skeptics within the mental health community.
Prosecutors have spent the better part of the two weeks documenting the gruesome death of Alicia Martinez inside Romero's grandmother's northwest Denver home in October 2010. They argued Romero knew what he was doing when he shot Martinez twice in the head before he systematically tried to dismember the body in an effort to conceal the crime.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this was an execution," said Denver prosecutor Henry Cooper during closing arguments. "This man took a cushion, put it against Alicia's head and 'Bang, bang,' twice in the head."
"It's time for him to be responsible for what he did, what he did when he was sane," added Cooper.
During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that suggested Romero cut up the body of Martinez over a period of a few days in an effort to at least flush some of the body parts down a toilet.
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