Kenan Gay was protecting his then-girlfriend from a drunken bar patron, not bent on murder, when he pushed Robert Kingston out of a Dilworth bar, Gay's defense attorney told a jury Wednesday in his closing argument.
The jury began deliberating Gay's fate Wednesday afternoon, a day after they toured Ed's Tavern, where Gay's guilt or innocence of second-degree murder could be decided by a matter of feet.
"He didn't even want to harm Kingston," defense attorney David Rudolf told the jury.
But Assistant District Attorney Jay Ashendorf reminded the jury of the bar owner's testimony that Gay pushed Kinsgton into the street.
In addition to the second-degree murder charge, the jury will consider a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, or they could acquit Gay altogether.
Gay, in emotional testimony Tuesday, said he let go of Kingston in the bar's parking lot. With tears in his eyes, Gay said he did not shove Kingston into Park Road, where he was fatally struck by a passing car.
Rudolf said Kingston was too drunk to stop himself from stumbling into the street. Kingston's blood alcohol level was later determined to be .29, more than three times the legal limit.
Gay testified Tuesday he saw Kingston grab Liz Wicker and try to kiss her.
In his closing argument, Rudolf said Gay "acted out of instinct" to protect his girlfriend, whom he has since married.
Rudolf said prosecutors had not "proven beyond a reasonable doubt this was not an accident."
Ashendorf, the assistant district attorney, said Gay's attorneys gave no reason to doubt witness testimony that Gay pushed Kingston several times until he was in oncoming traffic.
Reminding the jury that Gay fled the scene after Kingston was hit, Ashendorf said "heroes don't run away."
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