Closing arguments begin in trial of Bret Lee Luckett Thompson for kidnapping and sex assault

DENVER - Attorneys presented closing arguments Friday in a man's trial for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a little girl.

Bret Lee Luckett Thompson is on trial for the crime that occurred in June 2011. Defense attorneys admitted during opening statements that Thompson kidnapped and sexually assaulted the girl, but he has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Prosecutor Allison Rocker began to present her argument around 3:50 p.m. She recapped of the narrative of the crime.

In response to the defense witnesses' testimony that Thompson mentally ill, Rocker argued he knew exactly what he was doing. She didn't deny that he had a bad childhood, but said people are responsible for dealing with their own demons.

Defense attorney Fernando Freyer argued in his final statement that extreme trauma caused Thompson's dissociative disorder and repeated the story of Thompson's childhood that was established during testimony. He also touted the reputation of the doctor who diagnosed Thompson's disorder and spoke sarcastically about the prosecution's doctor.

During the prosecution's rebuttal, attorney Bonnie Beneditti said Thompson's childhood may have driven him to alcohol and child porn but didn't drive him to rape the little girl.

The jurors were sent home after the closing arguments concluded. Deliberations will begin Monday morning.

 

-- Rebuttal witnesses --

 

Before the closing arguments began, rebuttal witnesses were called to testify. The first rebuttal witness was a prosecution medical expert who discounted claims that Thompson is insane.

Dr. Richard Astafan testified that in Colorado there are two hurdles for claiming insanity. One is the presence of significant mental disease or defect. The second hurdle is not being capable of knowing right from wrong.

Astafan said all indications are that Thompson knew right from wrong.  Astafan pointed out that Thompson dropped the victim off in a different neighborhood to avoid getting caught, fled the state and changed his cellphone number.

The expert also said Thompson was diagnosed with malingering psychosis. In other words, "he was faking it."

Shortly after the arrest, Thompson remembered everything, but 15 months later he said he couldn't remember, according to Astafan.

Astafan said that wasn't credible.

The witness said Thompson was just a moody, angry kid with drug and alcohol issues. He said Thompson was addicted to child porn and had been drinking the day of the kidnapping.

A defense attorney for Thompson asked Astafan if he knew Thompson was involved in a car crash in Louisiana in 2008. The defense said it was a suicide attempt. Astafan said his notes indicated that alcohol was involved.

Astafan testified that he's not minimizing the abuse that Thompson suffered as a child. He explained the issue is Thompson's mental state at the time of the crime.

The defense asked Astafan, "How can all of those awful things happen and he not have a mental defect?"

Astafan said, "Terrible things can happen, but it's no excuse for that behavior."

 

-- Previous days in court --

 

Testimony in the case began Tuesday.

The victim, who is now 10 years old, testified that she was playing with a friend in an alley when a man pulled up in a van and asked for help putting a box in the trash.

The girl, who is not being named, said the man lifted her up so she could place the box in a large trash bin, then put her in his van and drove off.

The girl said she asked him to pinky promise he wouldn't hurt her.

She said the man drove her to a garage and took off her pants.

"He took out his man part and put it in on my private part," the girl testified, and then she started crying.

The defense has called witnesses to support the claim of mental illness, including Thompson's foster mother Sylvia Luckett.

She was asked if he was in his "right mind" on June 2 -- the day of the kidnapping -- and she testified, "I don't think he was."

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