Fenton Jacobs, 42, stands during court as he’s tried for charges relating to a 2019 stabbing on June 3, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Fenton Jacobs, 42, stands during court as he’s tried for charges relating to a 2019 stabbing on June 3, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Lawyers deliver closing arguments in murder trial

Jurors were deliberating into the evening.

This article has been updated as jurors have been called back to the courtroom.

The prosecution and defense in a murder trial presented their closing statements Friday morning, leaving the jury to deliberate the verdict. As of approximately 6:30 p.m. Friday jurors were still deliberating, after first appearing to reach a verdict before returning to deliberation.

Fenton Jacobs, 42, is being tried for charges stemming from a fatal stabbing incident more than three years ago that resulted in the death of William Scott Campbell.

Jacobs is charged with felony first-degree murder, two counts of felony second-degree murder, two counts of felony third-degree assault, first-degree harassment and resisting arrest.

[CCFR handles multiple dry-weather fires]

Nicholas Ambrose, leading Jacobs’ defense, posited that Jacobs killed Campbell out of self defense and that the investigation into the incident was incomplete, not meeting the requirement that the prosecution is required to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.

“What happens when the prosecution doesn’t give you all the pieces to puzzle?” Ambrose asked of the jury during his closing. “How can they come before you and ask you to convict someone of first-degree murder if they don’t give you all the pieces of the puzzle?”

Jacobs, who was out with his brother and several others on South Franklin Street during the evening of the stabbing, did not seek a confrontation with Campbell, Ambrose said, but found himself hounded and harassed by Campbell and Campbell’s wife after insulting her near the Lucky Lady.

“We have the video showing Scott Campbell coming after my client not once, not twice but three times,” Ambrose said.

After the fatal encounter, Jacobs was detained by Juneau Police Department Officer Sean Ashapanek and offers several explanations for the encounter, including that he, Jacobs, was defending himself from Campbell. Ambrose also pointed out how the pattern of a side wound and the hole in Campbell’s clothing could have been caused if Campbell had been throwing a punch at Jacobs.

“The problem with the state’s case from Day 1 was that it was open and shut from the moment Officer Ashapanek found a knife on Mr. Jacobs,” Ambrose said. “That’s where it stopped.”

Judge Amy Mead issues instructions to the jury during the closing statements for a 2019 stabbing trial on June 2, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Judge Amy Mead issues instructions to the jury during the closing statements for a 2019 stabbing trial on June 2, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Prosecutor Katherine Lybrand, who gave the state’s closing statement, drew a markedly different interpretation of the evening.

“The defendant wasn’t in fear, he wasn’t protecting himself. He was looking for a fight that night, he was looking for a target,” Lybrand said. “The defendant was out to hurt someone, to find an outlet for all that anger boiling up inside.”

Lybrand pointed to earlier encounters where Jacobs allegedly threatened some passersby in the Foodland IGA parking lot before he came downtown and bumped into Jacobs. Lybrand also pointed out Campbell’s role in attempting to calm his wife down. Lybrand also played footage of Jacobs before the encounter where Jacobs can be heard screaming and railing against the police.

“You saw that anger spike again and again before it exploded on Scott. After all those spikes, the anger erupted,” Lybrand said. “The defendant was the only one who had the power to prevent this tragedy.”

In Lybrand’s telling of events, Jacobs chose to engage Campbell before stabbing him several times, including mid-abdomen, causing severe internal trauma leading to Campbell’s death.

“We saw the defendant run after Scott with a knife,” Lybrand said. “He provoked Scott. He is not entitled to call it self-defense.”

Katherine Lybrand, part of the prosecution for a 2019 stabbing trial, delivers her closing statement on June 2, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Katherine Lybrand, part of the prosecution for a 2019 stabbing trial, delivers her closing statement on June 2, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

The abdominal stabbing was particularly severe, requiring the removal of Campbell’s spleen and parts of his intestine as the doctors attempted to stabilize Campbell enough to medevac him to Seattle, Lybrand said. Campbell would later die during the medevac. Jacobs would go on to repeatedly kick the doors of the squad car he was detained in as seen in bodycam footage shown during the trial, spitting blood and saliva at officers.

Ambrose also raised the possibility that Campbell might have had his own knife, though no knife was found, saying that if it was dropped, it could have been picked up by a passerby before the crime scene was fully secured. Lybrand said there was no evidentiary support for that.

“This is complicated. It’s big. There’s lots of moving parts,” Ambrose said. “Clearly, there was some miscommunication and some things that didn’t happen.”

The jury retired to deliberate the verdict early Friday afternoon. In some trials, the jury returns the verdict very quickly, while in others, deliberations can go on for days.

“This could be one of the most important decisions you ever make,” Ambrose said. “This is the kind of decision you can’t go back on. So it’s important you get it right.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

Nicholas Ambrose, leading the defense in a trial over a 2019 stabbing, speaks to the jury during his closing statement on June 3, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Nicholas Ambrose, leading the defense in a trial over a 2019 stabbing, speaks to the jury during his closing statement on June 3, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of May 18

Here’s what to expect this week.

Juneau high school seniors Edward Hu of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé (left), Elizabeth Djajalie of Thunder Mountain High School (center) and Kenyon Jordan of Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi Alternative High School. (Photos of Hu and Jordan by Juneau Empire staff, photo of Djajalie by Victor Djajalie)
Senior Spotlight 2024: Three top students take very different paths to graduation stage

Ceremonies for Juneau’s three high schools take place Sunday.

The entrance road to Bartlett Regional Hospital. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file photo)
Bartlett Regional Hospital looking at eliminating or trimming six ‘non-core’ programs to stabilize finances

Rainforest Recovery Center, autism therapy, crisis stabilization, hospice among programs targeted.

A king salmon. (Ryan Hagerty/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Biden administration advances bid to list Gulf of Alaska king salmon as endangered or threatened

Experts say request could restrict activity affecting river habitats such as road, home construction

Mayor Beth Weldon (left), Deputy Mayor Michelle Bonnet Hale and Juneau Assembly member Paul Kelly discussion proposals for next year’s mill rate during an Assembly Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Assembly members support lower 10.04 mill rate ahead of final vote on next year’s CBJ budget

Initial proposal called for raising current rate of 10.16 mills to 10.32 mills.

Dave Scanlan, general manager of Eaglecrest Ski Area, speaks to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Finance Committee on April 13, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Dave Scanlan forced out as Eaglecrest’s general manager, says decision ‘came as a complete shock to me’

Resort’s leader for past 7 years says board seeking a “more office-process, paper-oriented” manager.

The entrance to the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.’s Anchorage office is seen on Aug. 11, 2023. The state-owned AGDC is pushing for a massive project that would ship natural gas south from the North Slope, liquefy it and send it on tankers from Cook Inlet to Asian markets. The AGDC proposal is among many that have been raised since the 1970s to try commercialize the North Slope’s stranded natural gas. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Eight young Alaskans sue to block proposed trans-Alaska natural gas pipeline

Plaintiffs cite climate change that harms their access to fish, wildlife and natural resources.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Tuesday, May 21, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read