Closing arguments begin in South Fla. murder trial

Clifford Friend opted to not testify in his trial

MIAMI - Closing arguments are underway in the murder trial of Clifford Friend.

Earlier in the day Miami-Dade Judge Teresa Pooler addressed Friend, asking him if he wished to testify.

"I will not be," answered Friend.

And with that, the defense rested its case.

Prosecutor Michael Von Zamft then advised the judge that the state will not be calling any rebuttal witnesses.

The jury is expected to begin deliberating later in the afternoon.

Friend is accused of strangling his ex-wife to death 20 years ago, and throwing her body over the side of his boat into the ocean.

A judge had just granted Lynne Friend permission to take their 5-year-old son, Christian Friend out of state, and prosecutors say that was the motive behind the killing.

Lynne's body was never found.

Christian is now 25 years old and has supported his father throughout the trial.

A jury will now decide whether to acquit Friend, find him guilty of first-degree murder, or find him guilty of second-degree murder. Both charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Jurors could also find Friend of manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

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