Revenge shooting suspect Bruce J. Nozolino will not testify in his own defense, he announced Thursday as a two-month trial crept closer toward its finish.
Nozolino, 52, delivered his long-awaited decision at the close of testimony, after jurors had been released for the day.
Wearing a charcoal suit and dark tie, Nozolino told a judge he had made the decision himself and understood he was waiving his right to personally address the jury - an uncharacteristic move for a man who has eagerly protested his innocence and repeatedly taunted police despite advice from friends and legal advisers that he keep silent.
The defense case will continue at 8:30 a.m. Friday. The trial is expected to go to the jury for deliberations by Monday or Tuesday.
Despite Nozolino's absence from the witness stand, the jury has been granted a view into his demeanor and his impressions of the case against him.
Prosecutors previously played a radio interview with Nozolino as well as a videotaped presentation in which he portrayed himself as the victim of a conspiracy involving collusion between police, judges and his ex-wife's divorce lawyer, John Ciccolella.
Two of the four shootings for which Nozolino is charged involved attacks on Ciccolella, including a Jan. 23, 2002 shooting at the lawyer's downtown Colorado Springs law office that left him blind in one eye.
The former Lockheed Martin software engineer has been an active observer at his trial, listening intently through earphones worn for a hearing impairment. He generally takes notes on testimony and frequently passes sheets of paper to his attorneys.
When Nozolino is pleased with the evidence, he smiles and nods at his attorneys. He also shows flashes of anger - his face reddening, or draining of color.
Few have come in support of Nozolino since opening statements were heard Jan. 14. His girlfriend, veterinarian Gretchen Kasameyer, was among supporters barred by judge's orders from attending because they were under subpoenas to testify.
His attorneys have objected that alleged victims and their supporters have been excluded from that order and allowed to remain. Presiding judge Victor I. Reyes ruled that victims are allowed to be present in court under the Colorado Victim's Rights Act.
On Thursday, Colorado Springs antitax activist Douglas Bruce, a Nozolino friend and supporter, briefly stopped into court and sat in the gallery. Bruce was admonished by a sheriff's deputy for waving at Nozolino from the back of the courtroom.
Spectators are warned against communicating with the defendant.
The defense on Thursday continued to develop portraits of alternate suspects and took aim at the credibility of Joseph Durham, a jailhouse informant who testified earlier in the trial that Nozolino confessed to the shootings and bragged that no evidence would be found.
The informant's father, Daniel Durham, testified by phone and contradicted portions of his son's prior testimony, telling jurors that he didn't have a phone discussion with Nozolino that his son claimed had occurred.
The jury also heard from a defense weapons expert, Richard L. Post, who relayed that he found no evidence that four shootings attributed to Nozolino were linked.
Post's testimony came after a withering attack on his qualifications by prosecutor Donna Billek, who pointed out the former Green Beret sniper's lack of formal training in several areas for which he had been offered as an expert and sharply questioned his methods and conclusions.