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* Murder trial jury recesses for night

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By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- Jurors deciding a murder case in Frederick County Circuit Court recessed for the night just after 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Following closing statements and jury instructions, the panel hearing the case against Fallon N. Racey, 25, of Middletown, began deliberations early Wednesday afternoon.

Racey is charged with first-degree murder, wounding in the commission of the slaying and conspiracy to commit murder in the 2009 stabbing death of Todd E. Swartz.

Authorities accused Racey of wielding a knife that struck Swartz in the right side under the armpit and puncturied one of his lungs. A jury in February convicted Robert Shifflett II, 29, of first-degree murder and wounding while committing the felony, but acquitted him of conspiracy. Shifflett, Racey's boyfriend at the time of the incident, received 40 years in prison for murder and five years, with one years suspended, for the wounding charge.

Retired Judge Benjamin Kendrick, who is hearing the trial, asked the jury foreman late Wednesday afternoon if the panel wished to recess and continue deliberations Thursday, but the panel indicated it would work into the night.

For further developments, visit nvdaily.com or read the print edition of The Northern Virginia Daily.

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