by: Paige Hansen Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The jury in the Dilworth bar murder trial now has the case and will continue deliberating Thursday morning.
Both sides spent the day Wednesday giving closing arguments.
Prosecutors said Kenan Gay, a former UNC football player, deliberately pushed Robert Kingston into the street outside Ed’s Tavern two years ago. The defense said it was all an accident and Gay was trying to protect his girlfriend.
In closing arguments the defense made an emotional plea for their client, telling a love story about a boyfriend trying to protect his then girlfriend.
The state dug in and started by saying, “Heroes don’t run away.”
Defense attorney David Rudolf told jurors Wednesday, “This case is built on six seconds.”
Those seconds began inside Ed’s Tavern and ended outside on the street where Kingston was pushed by Gay after he says Kingston grabbed his girlfriend and looked like he was going to kiss her.
The argument is over whether Gay’s push was malicious, causing Kingston to get hit by a car and die.
The defense said in closing that it’s easy in the aftermath to be a Monday morning quarterback.
The prosecution also used a sports reference, asking jurors to consider whether they would ask a wide receiver if he was out of bounds on a play. Prosecutors pointed to the importance of a referee, an unbiased source, to witnesses throughout the trial who did not know Gay but saw what happened.
After a lunch break, the judge gave instructions to the jury. The judge said all 12 jurors have to be unanimous in their vote.
"Reach in among the evidence and find the true facts. The word verdict means to speak the truth," the judge told the jury.
Jurors spent just over an hour in deliberations before the judge sent them home for the night.
The jury will decide if Gay leaving the scene shows a consciousness of guilt. Gay took the stand Tuesday testifying he ran away because he was overwhelmed.
The jury will decide whether Gay is guilty of second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter or not guilty at all in Kingston’s death.
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Channel 9 reporter Paige Hansen is live-tweeting during the trial. Follow her on Twitter.
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