Suspect Manuel Frias Testifies in Murder Trial
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Both the state and defense have rested their cases in the murder trial of Manuel Frias.
Final statements are scheduled on Monday before the case goes to the jury for deliberation.
Today, the defendant himself took the stand to testify. During his nearly hour-long testimony, Frias was emotional at times, especially when talking about the death of Cory Zephier, one of his closest friends.
But this case hinges on one word that Frias used before the shooting.
On the stand, Frias spent time clarifying what he meant when he used the term ‘lick.’
He used this word in a text message he sent to a romantic partner the morning of the shooting. The text read, “why you leave, I went to do this lick.”
The state argues that this word is synonymous for a robbery. Frias says ‘lick’ is a broad term and was using it to describe a drug deal. The defense called on the Vice President of the Midwest Gang Investigations Association, who said ‘lick’ is a broad term, and its definition depends on the situation.
In their rebuttal, the state called on three crime experts from the Sioux Falls area to testify that ‘lick’ means robbery in the area.
The jury will ultimately decide if Frias used the term when planning to rob Samuel Crockett, or if he meant a drug deal.
Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday morning at 8:30 in Minnehaha County Court. The jury will then deliberate, and decide on Frias’ fate.
He could face life in prison if convicted.