Closing arguments in trial for former Albany city water employee accused of murdering two
ALBANY (WRGB) - It's now up to a jury to decide whether a former City of Albany worker killed two women he knew.
Prosecutors say Edward (Ted) Mero killed Megan Cunningham in January 2013, and Shelby Countermine in December 2014.
Although murdered more than a year apart, Mero is on trial for both killings at the same time.
Edward Mero's defense team started closing arguments Thursday, focusing on what they say prosecutors were missing.
In the death of Mero's roommate Megan Cunningham, the defense asked the jury to question the prosecution's claim that Mero killed Cunningham and set their home on fire in March 2013, reminding jurors investigators had ruled the fire accidental.
Cunningham's autopsy revealed she hadn't inhaled any soot, but defense attorney Cheryl Coleman argued that doesn't mean she was murdered, stating she could have died from burns in an accidental fire.
“She is the type of intoxicated where things can happen, dangerously intoxicated, and you know that Megan had a history of being careless,” Coleman said.
Mero admitted he had paid Shelby Countermine for sex, even just before Countermine disappeared in December 2014. But, the defense said, that doesn't make him the killer.
“I know that Ted doesn't have to prove that somebody else did it, they gotta prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” Coleman said.
But the prosecutor David Rossi said Mero's statements to co-workers helped seal his fate in both cases. Rossi cited testimony where Mero allegedly joked with a friend saying, “A pipe would be a good place to hide a body."
“His words are a window into his mind,” Rossi said.
In Cunningham's murder, the prosecutor pointed to a lack of evidence the fire was started by anything other than arson.
“The fire investigation team did not identify candles or candle residue in the bedroom,” Rossi said.
And in Countermine's case, Rossi leaned on Mero’s interview with investigators as evidence enough.
Mero is heard on an interrogation video saying, “I'm pretty sure I didn’t kill her, she was alive when she left my house.”
Police say they had never closed the investigation into Megan Cunningham's death - when Mero became a person of interest in Shelby Countermine's disappearance and death.
We'll continue to track the outcome of the case as it develops.