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Gazette Premium Content Jury now weighing murder, other charges against Nozolino

By Lance Benzel Updated: March 4, 2014 at 3:19 pm

After roughly two months of trial, the revenge-shooting case against Bruce J. Nozolino is in the hands of a jury.

The case went to the panel of six men and six women about 10 a.m. Tuesday, after a fiery rebuttal in which lead prosecutor Donna Billek urged the jury to declare "Game Over" for a man she said laughed over questions of his possible involvement in four shootings, including a 2008 murder, all while stoking people's fears of him to get his way.

"Tell him this little game that he wants to play of controlling people's lives by his trigger finger won't be tolerated," said Billek, who also made mocking reference to "Captain Amazing," a nickname cited by Nozolino's girlfriend during her testimony at trial. "Tell him he's not so amazing."

Nozolino, 52, faces 31 counts, including first-degree murder, on charges of taking aim at players in his contentious divorce - killing his ex-wife's former lover in 2008, wounding her divorce lawyer in the eye in 2002 and shooting into the homes of the lawyer and a judge in 2001.

The defense delivered a two-hour closing argument on Monday afternoon, accusing police and prosecutors of dragging Nozolino through the courts based on fear, speculation and thin evidence - or what attorney Tina Tussay called "a big pot of nothing."

In her 50-minute rebuttal, Billek told the jury the defense promoted what she called the "ridiculous" theory that police and prosecutors colluded with divorce lawyer John Ciccolella, and offered up implausible scenarios involving alternate suspects.

Billek disputed the defense's contention that Nozolino had alibis for the shootings and said the facts don't support involvement by anyone but Nozolino.

Only he, in all his "seething anger," had ties to all the victims, Billek charged.

"These people's lives only intersect because of one person - Bruce Nozolino."

Billek acknowledged the case against Nozolino was circumstantial but blamed him for the lack of physical evidence, accusing him of cleaning up after himself at each crime scene and disposing of gun barrels to defeat police analysis.

In arguing her point, Billek mentioned a duffel bag found in Nozolino's truck containing rubber gloves and trash bags - what she characterized as a killer's "go-bag."

"That's the nature of a serial sniper shooting - leave no trace."

Billek emphasized accounts by a jailhouse informant and another police cooperator in accusing Nozolino of trying to hire someone to kill his personal enemies and bragging that he had committed the shootings and got rid of all the evidence.

Prosecutors say Nozolino revealed his playbook in a secretly taped conversation in 2009 with a friend and former co-worker.

Although Nozolino didn't take credit for the shootings, he laughed when asked if he committed them and sounded gleeful about the money spent by Ciccolella to "plaster his face back together," Billek said.

Instead of denying his involvement, Billek said Nozolino harped about his now nine-year-old divorce, illustrating the force of his grudges.

In the recording, Nozolino also acknowledges that he drove past the homes of people he suspected were colluding against him to threaten and intimidate them.

"He essentially terrorizes victims and witnesses because the only rules that apply are his rules," Billek said.

The trial for Nozolino officially began on Jan. 6 and opening statements were Jan. 14.

Now that evidence has concluded, the jury will be sequestered in the jury room to mull the verdicts.

Only by a unanimous vote can Nozolino be acquitted or convicted of crimes.

If the jury fails to reach a unanimous decision, the case would be declared a mistrial.

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