(You can watch the trial above with legal analysis when it starts at Noon EST or 9:00 PST. If you’d prefer a raw feed of the trial, scroll to the bottom of the article.)
Closing arguments are scheduled Tuesday in the murder trial 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.
Colin Brough died in the attack, and Nick Piring, Nick Prato, and Kyle Zientek were injured.
Jones was with a small group of friends when one member of the group knocked on the door of a nearby fraternity. The knock led members who were holding a party to believe Jones was part of yet another group of party crashers. The members spilled out onto the street. One member of the fraternity sucker-punched Jones in the face.
Jones claims he acted in self-defense. Prosecutors allege Jones ran across a parking lot, retrieved his gun from his car, and then returned to the scene where the punch had occurred and where the fraternity members remained. Jones claims he thought the fraternity members were chasing him to his car and that he feared for his life. It turned out that they weren’t. Jones also claims he feared his friends were being severely beaten as well and that he needed to protect them.
Jones took the stand in his own defense, a rarity for any criminal case, especially a first-degree murder case.
Jones said that after he fired the first round of shots, he was attacked by more students, and fired into the air to get the group away from him. He said when police arrived he was relieved, and that he quickly identified himself as the shooter.
Prosecutors questioned Jones on his extensive training as a shooter. He said from the witness stand that his father helped train police officers and that he had been shooting since before the age of ten. He said that he gave victim Colin Brough a “double tap,” meaning he fired two shots in quick succession at “center mass” to “stop the threat.”
Defense attorneys called an expert to describe the type of drugs victim Colin Brough had in his system. Brough died with a blood alcohol level of .285 and also had Xanax and THC (marijuana) in his system. The expert explained studies which state that somewhere between one and thirteen percent of Xanax users can act out or lash out in ways exaggerated by the drug. Jones alleges that Brough “lunged” at him before he fired the shots.
Jones is facing one charge of first-degree premeditated murder and six charges of aggravated assault.
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