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Jury is now in deliberation in the Brad Aue trial

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Sumner County jury went into deliberation right before the noon hour to decide the fate of Brad Aue, 32 of Wellington – accused of second-degree murder.

The jury is deciding that Aue is guilty of 1) murder in the second degree; 2) murder in the second degree by reckless conduct; 3) a lesser conviction) or 4) acquittal.

Aue is accused of intentionally killing Sierra Craft without premeditation on May 24, 2018 at his home on 1002 South F Street by “striking her multiple times causing severe blunt force injuries including a nasal fracture, severe black eyes, multiple abrasions and contusions to her head, trunk and extremities.”

This morning both Sumner County Attorney Kerwin Spencer and defense attorney Chrystal Krier presented their 30-minute closing arguments.

Spencer’s closing argument

Spencer addressed the jury first.

He spoke about the May 24 evening in which Aue and Craft had first gone to the grocery store, picked up vodka and returned to the house only to drink and then get into a fight.

Spencer reintroduced evidence showing the brutality of Aue’s alleged beating that included pictures of the massive bruises to Craft around her eyes, her lower jaw, and her torso, the bite mark she received on one of her arms and the loss of blood at the crime scene.

He also showed a picture of Aue’s knuckles which he said was hurt due to him hitting Craft.

“You wouldn’t think Sierra would punch herself,” he said.

Spencer also told the jury that despite the alcohol consumed, Aue was deliberate in the things he did. At one point in the video of the Wellington Police Officer Michael Nelson body cam, Aue was told to open a back door that was apparently locked. Spencer said Aue opened it with little effort and with precision, which showed that he didn’t appear to be a man completely under the influence.

He then outlined the casual nature of Aue’s actions after the crime by showing in the surveillance video when he went over to his neighbor’s house Arianna Chromy to call 911.

“This was around 7 p.m., the crime was estimated to have taken place at 6:30 p.m.,” Spencer told the jury. “He had time to smoke a cigarette before casually walking to his neighbor’s house while Sierra was bleeding.”

Spencer then spoke of the “throwing the brick through the window” theory.

“Was there only one brick in the house?” Spencer asked rhetorically. “Or was there a storage closet for bricks to be thrown. And, why, would there be a brick in the house in the first place? And why at that particular time would Brad decide to throw a brick through the window?”

Spencer said he was perplexed why Aue never mentioned the brick in subsequent interviews with the police that evening, and that it didn’t become a factor or was even mentioned until the defense hired a private investigator eight months later.

He urged the jury to look closely to the blood trail. The direction of the splattered blood will tell how these two moved through the house. Blood was splattered from the inside going out. The samples were taken that logically shows that Aue had thrown Craft into the window.

Then look at the glass, Spencer said. The glass fell outside of the house, consistent to the path of the blood. At no point was there evidence that blood came from the outside going in.

He asked the jury to question why Craft would try to enter a window with a jagged broken glass when there was an open window in the nearby bathroom that had no glass.

Spencer reminded the jury that according to the KBI’s conclusions, it is being ruled a “homicide”, not an accident or a suicide.

Krier’s closing argument

Krier called the crime ‘a tragedy’ but not as big as Aue being blamed for it.

She reiterated that Craft died reentering the window and she incurred her deep cuts when she tried to get back inside that severed the artery of her right arm. Also, as she was trying to get back into the window after Aue had thrown her out of the house, she was deeply bruised by scraping her naked body on the window pane.

Krier spoke of a nearby bush which had broken leaves that happened when she climbed back into the window. There was also a small screw in the dirt for which she stepped on before getting into the window, which coincides with the sore on the foot in the picture thereafter.

Krier asked the jury to consider the fact that the mattress was near the window and it would have been nearly impossible for Aue to have thrown her into the glass window from where they were. But when Craft entered back through the window, there was clearly bloodstains in locations for which she returned.

“Let’s remember Sierra was very intoxicated – her blood alcohol content was .303,” Krier said. “But it is easy to see that when Brad’s BAC was taken seven hours later it was still at .1 which is legally drunk. It was obviously these two were drinking heavily at the time.”

Krier then said the blood on Aue’s white shorts were diluted or “transfer” blood, not spattered – meaning that at no time did it appear as if any of her blood came from initial contact.

Krier then questioned the investigations of the Wellington Police Department and KBI. She said the two agencies did not work together and failed to do a thorough job of collecting evidence. Items that were in the house like scissors, a socket wrench and other things were not collected into evidence. She questioned that the one person in charge of the investigation Wellington Police Chief Tracy Heath was never called to testify.

“There is not one shred of evidence that shows that Brad intentionally tried to kill Sierra,” Krier said. “But there is evidence that Sierra Craft created her own injuries.”

She urged the jury to acquit.

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