Jury deliberations begin in trial of felon accused of killing girlfriend

MURRIETA - Jury deliberations got underway today in the trial of a convicted felon accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend and then fleeing to Las Vegas, where he was apprehended holding his and the victim's 2-year-old son. Celestine John Stoot Jr., 44, of Lake Elsinore allegedly killed 43-year-old Natasha Denise Barlow of San Jacinto in July 2021. Stoot is charged with first-degree murder, child cruelty, being a convicted felon in possession of a loaded firearm and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations. Following more than a week of testimony at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, the prosecution and defense delivered closing statements Thursday morning, after which Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Freer ordered jurors behind closed doors to b
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