Jury begins deliberations in Manatee murder trial

BRADENTON — A jury has begun deliberating in the first-degree murder and robbery trial of a man accused of slaying a 22-year-old Sarasota woman and dumping her body in woods off a rural Manatee road.

The jury began deliberating just before 4:30 p.m. to decide the fate of 34-year-old Jose Luis Marrero, who is accused of fatally shooting Lauren Whitney Lichon as the pair sat in a car off Rye Road. A mosquito control worker found Lichon's body on Feb. 5. 2009, in woods nearby, at Rye Wilderness Road.

Prosecutors say Marrero shot Lichon in front of his 14-year-old nephew who was also in the car at the time of the killing.

The boy, now 16, testified to seeing the shooting on Thursday. Defense attorneys have attacked the boy's credibility, saying he lied to investigators for months before implicating Marrero.