Jury convicts Brian Cole in death of wife Heather Mallory

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Updated: June 28, 2011, 8:27 PM

 
photoBrian Charles Cole was sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife, Heather Mallory, formerly of Vancouver.

— A Multnomah County, Ore., jury has decided Brian Cole killed his wife, former Vancouver resident Heather Mallory, in their Portland apartment then hid her body in the woods near Estacada, Ore.

The verdict was revealed Tuesday afternoon just before 1 p.m. He will be sentenced the week of July 18.

Cole took a deep breath, closed his eyes and held them shut after the verdict was read. It appeared that he was close to tears. His attorney gave him some consolation.

Cole appeared to be crying as he was led from the courtroom by officers. He did not look at the jurors at any point during the reading of the verdict.

The jury received the case at about noon Monday after prosecution and defense attorneys delivered passionate closing arguments.

Prosecutors have laid out a comprehensive timeline of events pointing to Cole’s guilt. Then Cole’s attorney, Russell Barnett, countered that the evidence did not directly connect Cole to the crime of killing his wife.

“Please pay attention to what the neighbors don’t hear,” said Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Jenna Plank, referring to what neighbors told police they heard coming from the couple’s apartment the day Mallory disappeared. “They don’t hear a woman’s voice screaming. And that is because you cannot scream when someone’s hands are wrapped around your throat. That thumping that they hear is the sound of the life being squeezed out of Heather Mallory.”

But Cole denied there was a fight because his wife had left the couple’s apartment earlier in the afternoon.

“Can you show me the one piece of physical evidence with a direct connection?” Barnett said. “The state argues that crack to the sternum, the broken ribs, the fractures to the back were from being slammed into the bathroom counter. Well, if you do that, you take the hands off someone’s neck, don’t you? And that’s when you’re going to hear a scream. And there was nothing like that. It does not fit.”

Plank took nearly twice as long to deliver her closing arguments in the case, going through the evidence of Cole’s previous domestic abuse, stalking behavior and inconsistent statements to detectives.

“When he could no longer possess her, he killed her,” she said. “He put her body in a bag, and he dumped it in the woods like a piece of trash.”

She argued the evidence rules out everyone but Cole.