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JUDGE WEIGHS SEQUESTERING PARKER JURORS

Jurors at Jonathan Parker's death-penalty trial were told Tuesday they may be sequestered to start deliberations next week on Parker's guilt or innocence in the fatal shooting of Buffalo police Officer Charles "Skip" McDougald.

Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico told the panel he suspects prosecutors -- who have called 62 witnesses to the stand -- only have two or three more and that only "a few" witnesses are likely to be called by defense attorneys.

The judge said he expects both sides to deliver closing arguments early next week.

D'Amico did not predict the exact date he expects jury deliberations to begin in the area's first death-penalty trial in four decades.

Parker, 20, a state prisoner on unrelated gun charges since 14 days after McDougald was killed, faces a possible death penalty if the jury finds him guilty of first-degree murder.

If the jury cannot unanimously agree on the sentence, D'Amico is obligated to impose a prison term of at least 20 years to life under the state's death-penalty law.

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