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Forensic pathologist testifies barrel was held to slaying victims head
State rests in taxi driver slaying; closing arguments today
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A jury in Superior Court Judge Jason Deal’s courtroom will return at 9 a.m. today to deliberate on the March 15 death of a Taxi El Palmar driver.

Misty Sunshine Moran, 39, faces murder charges and other accusations in the death of Isaias Tovar-Murillo, 46.

Tovar-Murillo was found in a wooded area near Barrett and Dorsey Peek roads. Hall County Sheriff’s Office investigators said they believe the taxi cab driver picked up Moran for a fare, where she allegedly attempted to rob him and shot him.

The prosecution and Assistant District Attorney Shiv Sachdeva continued into the second day of evidence on Wednesday with testimony from Dr. Geoffrey Smith, who performed the autopsy on Tovar-Murillo.

Smith said he found a single gunshot wound to the back of the head, passing through his skull.

Sachdeva ran through multiple scenarios, speculating on the possibility of the gun being held under the arm or Tovar-Murillo reaching to grab the gun.

Examining photos from the autopsy, the doctor pointed to small scratches found near the entrance of the bullet on Tovar-Murillo’s head.

When the “gun muzzle is close enough to the target,” Smith said little projectiles will make tiny abrasions. The abrasions made Smith believe the gun muzzle was close to the head, he said.

Sachdeva and the state rested around 3:20 p.m. Wednesday. Moran, sitting with her attorney C. David Turk III, elected not to testify.

The jury will return at 9 a.m. today to hear the instructions from Deal and enter deliberation.

One of Moran’s four co-defendants, Margarita Leanos, originally charged in the indictment had jury selection in her case Monday and will be heard Monday in Deal’s court.

The other three co-defendants with Moran pleaded guilty in August to attempted armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and violation of the Georgia Street Gang and Terrorism Prevention Act.

Nicholas Allen Gonzalez, 24, Justin John Adams, 22, and Ignacio Mondragon, 21, all of Gainesville, took the plea deal and were not prosecuted for felony murder as charged in the indictment. Adams and Mondragon received 30-year sentences and will spend 15 years of that in prison, while Gonzalez was given a 25-year sentence and is expected to be in jail for 13 years.

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