Jury deliberating in attempted-murder case

Defense claims June 2011 shooting was accidental

By Paul Suarez, Columbian freelance

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Jurors did not reach a verdict Thursday in the Reysel Perez-Martinez attempted murder trial after deliberating for several hours.

The prosecution claims Perez-Martinez shot Eric Luna-Perez on June 28, 2011, at a house in the 10010 block of Northeast 72nd Circle.

Prosecutors say Perez-Martinez went into the home of Luna-Perez, an alleged drug dealer, on the day in question. After a confrontation, prosecutors allege, the defendant pulled a gun on Luna-Perez and shot him in the abdomen and then attempted to shoot him in the head when the gun misfired.

The defense claims Luna-Perez pulled a gun on Perez-Martinez and that the defendant was wrestling with him when the gun misfired, hitting Luna-Perez in the abdomen.

Jurors began considering the case midday Thursday after hearing closing arguments from the prosecution and defense.

In her closing statement, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Camara Banfield said the victim made mistakes dealing drugs from his home, but that he took responsibility for his actions.

“Today we’re here to discuss actions of that man,” she told jurors while pointing across the room to Perez-Martinez, who was sitting between his defense attorney and a translator.

She argued that Perez-Martinez’s testimony wasn’t backed up by evidence presented during the trial. His actions, including entering the home from one location and leaving from another, showed he intended to harm the victim.

Banfield alleges Perez-Martinez brought the gun in the home, showing jurors surveillance footage of him leaving the home and putting it in his pants.

He never looked down when he put the gun in his pants, she said, arguing that he must have been comfortable with the gun to do that.

She also said if Perez-Martinez claims the incident was an accident, self defense wouldn’t apply.

“This was a tough case,” said defense attorney David Kurtz during his closing statement before firing back at the prosecution’s points.

He said self defense must have some evidence to support it because it was included in the jury instructions.

As for the gun?

“Is it logical to assume that a mid-level drug dealer selling cocaine and meth doesn’t have a weapon?” he asked. “I’ll let you decide that.”

Kurtz said jurors should remember the state has to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

“I think we have reasonable doubt,” he said.

The jurors were scheduled to resume deliberating Friday morning.

Perez-Martinez faces of one count of first-degree attempted murder and one count of first-degree assault.

Paul Suarez: 360-735-4522; http://twitter.com/col_cops;paul.suarez@columbian.com.