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Jury to Resume Deliberations in Nicole Finn Murder Trial

Nicole Finn (WHO-HD)

DES MOINES, Iowa — The jury continues deliberating Thursday morning in the Nicole Finn murder trial after being unable to reach a verdict Wednesday afternoon.

Finn is accused of starving her 16-year-old adopted daughter, Natalie Finn, to death in October of 2016. The teen was found unresponsive and not breathing on the bare floor of a bedroom in the family’s West Des Moines home. It was later determined she died from a cardiac arrest brought on by starvation.

The defense used closing arguments Wednesday morning to point out holes in the prosecution’s case.

“That’s where the state’s case lacks on that element, Because, what do we know? We heard testimony and there’s text messages of Nicole telling the teens that Natalie needs to eat, so is that withholding food,” defense attorney Jennifer Larson asked the jury.

Larson claims Nicole’s mental disorders are what caused her to harm her kids.

But the prosecution says the texts and living conditions show Nicole knowingly harmed Natalie and her siblings.

“She is systematically depriving them of food, and food is the weapon, along with their freedom to ever ask somebody else to help them. She has made them so afraid and so alone that even when they talk to the very last person for help, Mr. Trainor, it goes unnoticed,” Polk County prosecutor Nan Horvat told the jury.

Finn is charged with first degree murder in Natalie’s death and three counts of first degree kidnapping related to her other children.

Joseph Finn, Nicole’s ex-husband, is also charged in the case. He faces one count of child endangerment resulting in death, three counts of first degree kidnapping, three counts of child endangerment-serious injury, and three counts of neglect of a dependent person. His trial is scheduled for January of 2018.

There is no timeline for when jurors will reach a verdict.