During closing arguments, prosecutors said that Steven Jones, a former Northern Arizona University student who killed one student and injured three in a 2015 shooting, carried out ‘his own deranged sense of justice’ when he opened fire on a group of people during a drunken fight near the campus.
Jones, 20, is accused of murdering one student and wounding three others in an incident that he claimed was self-defense. Jones claims he was defending himself after he was punched in the face just a few weeks into his freshman year back in October of 2015.
Jurors in began deliberating after closing arguments were concluded on Tuesday, April 25, with deliberations expected to resume on the 26th.
via AZ Family:
The prosecution and defense spent Tuesday giving their closing arguments, painting a picture of what they claim happened in October 2015 when Jones and two friends were confronted by students outside a party.
Prosecutors told jurors Jones wanted to enact “his own deranged sense of justice.” Prosectuor Ammon Barker claimed Jones was bent on retaliation after one of the partygoers punched him in the face. He told jurors that Jones exaggerated the threat he felt that night when testifying in his defense last week.
“His first thought was to arm himself with a weapon and show whoever was out there who had the power,” said Barker.
“The defendant claims he heard the word kill numerous times,” said Barker. “Did you hear anyone else describe that situation? That somebody said the word kill? No.”
The incident took place in October of 2015. Starting as a drunken brawl among fraternity members, the scrap ended in gunfire after Jones allegedly went to his car, retrieved a gun and opened fire at university students. Therefore, prosecutors told jurors retaliation equaled premeditation.
Barker also showed the jury autopsy photos of Colin Brough, the NAU student that was killed, while arguing that Jones should be found guilty of murder.
According to Jones’ testimony, he claims was accosted by a drunken group of strangers, punched in the face and chased by some members of the group, which prompted him to run to his vehicle and get his .40-caliber handgun.
Jones had said he then went back toward the group and fired his gun, although he did not have the intention of hurting anyone. He testified that he fired the shots ‘to stop the immediate threat that was coming at me.’ Aside from Brough’s death, the shooting also wounded three unarmed victims: Nicholas Piring, Nicholas Prato and Kyle Zeintek.
While prosecutors did not seek the death penalty, they are seeking a conviction of first-degree murder, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Jurors also have the option to return a lesser verdict that carries a lighter sentence, for example, second-degree murder or manslaughter.
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