Closing arguments conclude in deadly wrong-way crash trial
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Attorneys on Monday completed questioning witnesses in the trial of a Vermont man facing murder charges in the deaths of five teenagers after he drove the wrong way on Interstate 89.
Jurors are set to receive instructions from the judge Tuesday morning in the trial of Steven Bourgoin, 38.
His attorneys acknowledge he was driving the pickup truck that hit the teenagers’ vehicle in October 2016. They said he was psychotic and delusional at the time of the crash and believed he was on a secret mission in the days beforehand.
“Steven Bourgoin wasn’t suicidal, he wasn’t rageful, he was psychotic,” said defense attorney Robert Katims, who said Bourgoin didn’t know he was driving the wrong way.
But the state said the evidence does not support that conclusion.
“An accident did not kill these kids. Mr. Bourgoin did,” said Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George.
Prosecutors allege that Bourgoin left his home that night, got onto the interstate going south and then turned around, heading north at speeds approaching 90 miles per hour (145 kph) in the southbound lane and colliding with the car that carried the five teenagers.
The crash killed Mary Harris, 16, of Moretown; Cyrus Zschau, 16, of Moretown; Liam Hale, 16, of Fayston; Janie Cozzi, 15, of Fayston; and Eli Brookens, 16, of Waterbury. Four of the teenagers attended Harwood Union High School in Duxbury. Cozzi attended Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire.
Bourgoin told the judge Monday he would not testify at the trial.
He has pleaded not guilty to five counts of second-degree murder and other charges.
Mental health experts have different opinions about Bourgoin’s mental state.