NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Closings statements were under way in the trial of a man accused of killing three college-bound friends accused of killing three college-bound friends in a New Jersey schoolyard.

Dashon Harvey, Terrance Aeriel and Iofemi Hightower were lined up against a wall behind Newark’s Mount Vernon School and shot in the back of the head in August 2007.

A fourth victim survived being stabbed and shot in the brutal attack.

Jurors were being asked to consider duress.

Alexander Alfaro’s defense attorney was expected to argue his client was pressured by fellow gang members to come to the schoolyard in 2007 when the three victims were slain execution-style.

The judge denied a request by prosecutors to tell jurors that any threat Alfaro perceived had to have been specific and immediate, not generalized.

Last week, prosecutors played the taped statement in which Alfaro admits slashing one of the victims with a machete before all three were shot execution-style.

Alfaro claimed he was coerced into giving a confession, saying a Newark police detective told him to make a false statement when he was arrested two weeks after the murders.

The detective took the stand Tuesday and denied that.

Do you believe Alfaro? Let us know below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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