Elizabeth Johnson case goes to jury

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- The fate of 26-year-old Valley mom Elizabeth Johnson is now in the hands of a Maricopa County jury.

In a day full of courtroom drama, prosecutors and Johnson's defense attorney presented their closing arguments in the high-profile kidnapping, conspiracy and custodial interference case.

The two sides' summations came after defense attorney Marc Victor told Judge Joseph Kreamer first thing Tuesday morning that "the defense rests" without ever calling a single witness to the stand in Johnson's defense.

Johnson is charged in connection with the 2009 disappearance of her then-8-month-old son, Gabriel Johnson.

Prosecutor Angela Andrews used her closing argument to remind jurors of the state's evidence showing a rocky relationship between Johnson and Gabriel's father, Logan McQueary, saying that Johnson used the baby as a pawn to hurt McQueary with "disastrous" results for both McQueary and the baby.

Johnson's feisty defense attorney then took the stage and immediately told jurors that there was nothing he could say to make them like his client and acknowledged that she was guilty of the custodial interference charge.

Victor's real goal was to challenge the much more serious kidnapping charge.

Citing the Founding Fathers, rocker Tom Petty and the NFL's substitute refs, Victor told jurors that the facts of the case do not fit "the elements" of the state's kidnapping statute.

"This is not a kidnapping case," Victor said as he accused prosecutors of "capitalizing on the anger" of the public toward Johnson.

Jurors got the case late Tuesday afternoon. They will begin their deliberations Wednesday morning.