(We will head right to the courtroom if we get word there is a verdict in the Steven Jones Case on the LawNewz Network streaming above. If you’d prefer a raw feed of the trial, scroll to the bottom of the article.)
An Arizona jury is deliberating the fate of Steven Jones, a then-freshman at Northern Arizona University who shot four other students after an off-campus party on October 9, 2015, killing one of them. Jones claims that he acted in self-defense after being chased during a brawl. Prosecutors allege that Jones was merely sucker-punched by a drunken fraternity member during an argument and that the shooting was not justified.
Colin Brough died in the attack, and Nick Piring, Nick Prato, and Kyle Zientek were injured
Jones testified in his own defense. “If I waited another split second, I’d get seriously hurt, or die, because they were right on top of me,” he said.
In an aggressive closing argument, prosecutor Ammon Barker called Jones’ testimony “rehearsed” and showed the jury a series of PowerPoint slides entitled “Defendant’s Lies.” Barker also accused Jones of having “convenient eyesight.” Jones testified that the punch knocked his glasses off his face. He explained that he struggled to see some things, but then said he could see others. He fired the shots without his glasses.
Barker also addressed the discrepancies between the stories of several witnesses. Ultimately, though, he argued that the one story that truly didn’t line up with the others was that of Jones.
Defense attorney Burges McCowan told jurors that it wasn’t a “fist fight,” but a “mob attack” that Jones needed to defend himself from the night he pulled the trigger.
McCowan ultimately asked the jury to agree with the defendant’s version of events. He also asked jurors to place themselves in the defendant’s position in an attempt to validate the defendant’s claim of self defense.
“You don’t have much more time before they’re going to overpower you. What are you going to do?” McCowan asked the jury.
He said getting the gun was Jones’ only option. “Once they subdued him and took that gun, who knows what would have happened,” he said. Jones was “allowed to use deadly force when the threat was imminent, which it was.”