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Closing arguments conclude in deadly wrong-way crash trial

FILE – In this May 15, 2019 file photo, Steven Bourgoin, left, greets his lawyer Robert Katims during the murder trial in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington, Vt. Closing arguments are expected Monday 20 May in the process of Bourgoin, Vermont man facing murder charges in the death of five teenagers after he drove the wrong way on Interstate 89. (Glenn Russell/VTDigger.org via AP, Pool, File)

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Lawyers on Monday completed questioning of witnesses in the trial of the Vermont man facing murder charges in the death of five teenagers after he drove the wrong way on Interstate 89.

Judges are set to receive instructions from the judge Tuesday morning in the trial of Steven Bourgoin, 38.

His lawyers acknowledge he drove the pick-up truck, which struck the teenagers ‘ vehicle in October 2016. They said he was psychotic and delusional at the time of the crash, and believed that he was on a secret mission in the days ahead.

“Steven Bourgoin wasn’t suicidal, he was not rageful, he was psychotic,” said lawyer Robert Katims, who said Bourgoin did not know that he was driving the wrong way.

But the state said that the evidence does not support that conclusion.

“An accident, do not kill these children. Mr. Bourgoin,” said Chittenden County State Attorney Sarah George.

The plaintiffs claim that Bourgoin left his home that night, got on the highway to the south and then he turned around, towards the north, at speeds of almost 90 miles per hour (145 km / h) in the southern lane and a collision with the car the five teens.

The crash killed Mary Harris, 16, of Moretown; Cyrus Zschau, 16, of Moretown; Liam Hale, 16, of Fayston; Janie Cozzi, 15, of Fayston; and Eli Brookens, 16, of Waterbury. Four of the teens attended Harwood Union High School in duxbury. Cozzi attended Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire.

Bourgoin told the judge Monday that he would not testify at the trial.

He pleaded not guilty to five counts of second-degree murder and other charges.

Mental health experts have different opinions about Bourgoin’s mental state.

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