Emerald man not guilty of murder after sledgehammer death

3:20pm: David John Cooper has been found guilty of manslaughter, but not guilty of murder. 

Justice Duncan McMeekin is currently sentencing Cooper. 

10.40am: THE jury in the case against Emerald man David John Cooper have retired to deliberate their verdict.

The case is before the Rockhampton Supreme Court this week where Cooper is accused of murdering one of his housemates with a sledgehammer after an alcohol-fueled argument in April 2013.

Before the jury left the court room this morning, Justice Duncan McMeekin reminded them to consider Cooper's intent at the time of the blow and to understand the difference between murder and manslaughter.

More to come.

6am: WHEN paramedics got a call to say someone "fell down some stairs" at a New St address in Emerald, they knew what to expect.

Even before David John Cooper killed his housemate there with a sledgehammer in April 2013, it was known as a place of violence.

Yesterday, in Rockhampton's Supreme Court, the prosecution and defence delivered their closing arguments in the murder trial of Cooper.

Related: Man allegedly killed housemate with sledgehammer blow

Cooper has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.

The victim, Ernest James Peterson, died after Cooper struck him in the chest with a sledgehammer, which fractured several ribs and punctured his lungs.

The court heard that at the address there lived a group of people who were good mates but "habitually drank to excess and got into fights", which often included hurting each other with whatever object was nearby.

Cooper's defence team said that behaviour was normalised.

"In this strange, dysfunctional home, these people seemed to get along, put their differences aside, get up in the morning and drink again," his defence lawyer said. "You have virtually no evidence of motive… other than the spontaneous eruption of a drunken argument."

However, Crown prosecutor Joshua Phillips alleged Cooper was jealous of a relationship that Mr Peterson had with another woman who lived at the address, who Cooper previously had a long relationship with.

The court also heard testimony from a paramedic, who saw a drunk Cooper walking Mr Peterson to the ambulance while telling him he loved him and everything would be okay.

However, Mr Phillips said Cooper had intended to cause grievous bodily harm.

The court heard Cooper tapped Mr Peterson under the chin with the hammer to put him on the ground, and as he lay there Cooper held the hammer over his shoulder and brought it down on his chest.

"The action of taking that sledgehammer, which is used to pulverise, in that position and to bring it down allows only one interpretation of what his intention was," he said.

The court also heard Cooper had consumed several drinks that day, as it was the anniversary of his father's death.

The trial continues.

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