Friday, August 1, 1997
Defense rests without
Doan on stand

Closing arguments to come Monday

BY LISA DONOVAN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WILMINGTON, Ohio - Vincent Doan did not take the stand and defend himself against charges he kidnapped and killed girlfriend Carrie Culberson. The defense rested its case just after noon Thursday, Mr. Doan's birthday. As he was leaving the courtroom, Mr. Doan said he was "happy" with the work his attorneys had done.

Vincent Doan
Vincent Doan watches as his nephew testifies during his murder trial Thursday.
(Gary Landers photo)
| ZOOM |

Attorney John Rion said later Thursday that his client wanted to take the stand, but he advised Mr. Doan against it. There is no legal requirement for a defendant to testify and subject himself to cross-examination. Mr. Rion said he feared the prosecution would "create a diversion" and question Mr. Doan about his relationship with Ms. Culberson, which some have characterized as abusive. "We're concerned (prosecutors) would turn a murder trial into a domestic violence trial," Mr. Rion said. Both he and his client will not answer questions about the alleged abuse.

"There's nothing more to say other than what was said during the trial," Mr. Rion said.

The defense, which called 28 witnesses to the stand, presented witnesses who said they had seen either Ms. Culberson or her car - or both - after she was reported missing Aug. 29. The defense also tried to puncture the prosecutor's charge that Mr. Doan kidnapped and killed Ms. Culberson early Aug. 29 and spent the rest of the morning trying to cover up the crime.

Mr. Doan's father, Lawrence Baker, testified this week that his son was at home asleep that morning roughly the same time he is alleged to have killed Ms. Culberson, 22, of Blanchester.

On Thursday, a forensic scientist with the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab in Dayton was one of the final defense witnesses to take the stand. Annette Davis, forensic serologist, testified that human blood samples taken from a towel belonging to Mr. Doan and boots belonging to his half brother Tracey Baker were so degraded that tests to see whether they matched Ms. Culberson's blood type were inconclusive.

When the prosecution was presenting its case last week, several of its 25 witnesses implicated Mr. Baker in the crime.

Both sides are expected to make their closing arguments on Monday, and the case will be turned over to the jury in the afternoon. If jury members find Mr. Doan guilty in the capital case, they would have to reconvene to decide his sentence.