DES MOINES, Iowa -- The jury in the First Degree Murder trial of Nicole Finn left court on Wednesday without reaching a verdict after 4 hours of deliberations.
Finn is accused of starving her adopted children in her West Des Moines home, leading to the death of 16-year-old Natalie Finn in October 2016.
On Wednesday morning the jury heard closing arguments from defense and prosecution attorneys. Defense attorney Jennifer Larson used her time to point out flaws she sees in the prosecutors case. "That's where the state lacks on that element, what do we know we heard testimony and there are text messages of Nicole telling the teens that Natalie needs to eat, is that withholding food?," defense attorney Jennifer Larson asked. Larson said Nicole's mental disorders caused her to harm Natalie and her two other siblings.
Prosecutor Nan Horvat showed the court graphic pictures of Natalie's emaciated body post autopsy again, the filthy conditions where she died and the text messages she sent to her ex-husband Joseph Finn. Horvat says that is proof Nicole harmed her kids. "She is systematically depriving her of food; that is the weapon. She has made them so scared of trying to get help it goes unnoticed," Horvat said.
If convicted Nicole Finn faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Jury deliberations will resume at 9:00am on Thursday.