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From glare of "Springer' to the scrutiny of a jury

Jurors Monday deliberated about seven hours without reaching a verdict in the case of a former Jerry Springer Show guest accused of killing his ex-wife just hours after an episode featuring their combative love life aired.

They are expected to resume deliberations this morning.

Prosecutors argued that Ralf Panitz was a master manipulator turned murderer of his ex-wife, Nancy Campbell.

Defense attorney Geoffrey Fieger, in a loud, impassioned closing presentation, said it was the victim who manipulated the legal system, and that prosecutors accused the wrong man in her murder.

Fieger said prosecutors offered no evidence proving that Panitz killed his ex-wife and said their theory that the couple's long-troubled relationship was the cause of her death is "nonsense."

"There are so many lies in this case, I can't keep track of them," Fieger, a Michigan attorney who represented suicide doctor Jack Kevorkian, told the jury.

Panitz, 42, is charged with first-degree murder in the July 24, 2000, death of Campbell. She was slain at her home hours after the airing of a taped episode of the Springer show featuring her being confronted by her ex-husband and his current wife, Eleanor.

Prosecutors capped the 10-day trial by telling jurors Panitz toyed with his ex-wife's affections but became infuriated when she stood up to him by having a judge oust him from a home they had shared.

"He thought only of himself and how he was going to win at any cost," said prosecutor Charlie Roberts, an assistant state attorney. "Did Nancy Campbell deserve to die? Did she deserve to have every bone in her face broken?"

Prosecutors said Campbell was stomped to death after being choked. The defense argued that she died from a heart attack suffered during a fight with someone, but not Ralf Panitz.

Fieger said he was leaving it to jurors to "fill in the blanks."

Early in the trial, Fieger pointed to Panitz's nephew, Markus Panitz, as a better suspect.

Marcus Panitz had sought an injunction against Campbell and was angry when a judge denied it earlier that same day, Fieger said.