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Jury deliberating Mansfield murder, dismemberment case

A Richland County jury is deliberating charges against Walter Renz in the murder of Patsy Hudson. (WSYX/WTTE)

A jury is deliberating the fate of a man accused of killing a Mansfield woman, then dismembering her and scattering her remains across Richland County.

Walter Renz is charged with five counts, including aggravated murder, in the death of 62 year old Patsy Hudson. Deliberations ended at 5 p.m. Thursday and will continue Friday morning.

Hudson was last seen on July 4, 2015, the same day Renz and his girlfriend Linda Buckner moved out of a neighboring home. Hudson, who kept to herself, was not reported missing until December of that year. Two months later, authorities caught up to Renz and Buckner in Tennessee, with Hudson's credit card.

Prosecutors said investigators recovered less than 20 percent of Hudson's body, so little that it was difficult to make a determination on a cause of death. In closing arguments today, Renz' attorney said without a cause of death, it's impossible to implicate his client in the murder.

"What act did Walter do? The state has not established any act that Walter did to cause Patsy's death," said Josh Brown, attorney for Renz.

But prosecutors said Renz' actions after Hudson's death help prove the case.

"We have the clean-up afterwards, the dismemberment afterwards, the flight afterwards," said J. Brandon Pigg. "All to show that she was murdered with prior calculation and design."

Renz' strategy during the trial was to blame Linda Buckner for the murder, saying she was the ringleader. Buckner was convicted of aggravated murder and other charges in November of last year. She will spend life in prison.

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