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Defendant too fat to be guilty, lawyer says

Associated Press / October 29, 2009

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TRENTON, N.J. - A Florida man accused of killing his son-in-law in New Jersey is arguing that he was too fat to have committed the crime.

An attorney for Edward Ates is making the case that his client would not have had the energy to climb and descend the staircase where prosecutors say the killer was perched when Paul Duncsak, a 40-year-old pharmaceutical executive, was shot in 2006.

Lawyer Walter Lesnevich claims that in 2006, the 62-year-old Ates, who stood 5 feet 8 and weighed 285 pounds, was in such bad physical shape that he could not have pulled off the shooting or the fast getaway the killer made.

In testimony yesterday, Ates’s doctor testified that bounding up the stairs would have caused Ates to become short of breath and shake, making it difficult to keep his wrist straight enough to accurately fire a gun at someone from a distance.

Ates also directly denied killing his former son-in-law, saying he had no reason to want him dead.