Jury could decide murder suspect's fate Friday

COQUILLE, Ore.-- The fate of a man accused of murdering a handicapped man inside his motel room in North Bend last summer is now in the hands of a jury.

Both sides of the case made closing arguments Thursday afternoon in the case against Ronald Wayne Ambill. He has been the only suspect in the stabbing and beating death of David Marion Barker.

Barker was found dead at the Itty Bitty Inn last July after the motel's managers became concerned for his safety after he hadn't check out of his room the following day he checked in for the night.

Ambill has been the primary suspect in the case since being seen with Barker at a nearby convenience store and by motel management.

On Thursday, Coos County District Attorney Paul Fraiser said in closing arguments that all arguments point to Ambill as the suspect because he was the only one seen with Barker just hours before he was believed to have been killed, and Barker's DNA was found on Ambill's backpack.

Ambill attorney argued that there were too many unknowns to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it, in fact, was Ambill that killed Barker. He also said no one knows what happened to Barker because no one was in the room when he died, possibly at the hands of a third person.

It was revealed in post-closing argument hearings that Ambill has had previous felony convictions in other states where he was also drunk and became extremely violent.

After closing arguments on Thursday afternoon, the jury deliberated for more than an hour and was sent home for the night.

Deliberations continue Friday morning.