Jurors must decide what Brandon Gorham’s intentions were when he ran over a man — with whom he had apparently been exchanging threats with minutes before — last September in the Vancouver Heights neighborhood.
Deputy Prosecutor Aaron Bartlett told the Clark County Superior Court jury that there are several issues in dispute in Gorham’s attempted murder trial.
The case went to the jury late Thursday afternoon, but it had not yet reached a verdict. Deliberations continue today.
Gorham, 32, testified Thursday morning that vehicles parked along the curb blocked his view as he came around the corner, from Tennessee Lane to North Garrison Road, and struck Zachery Lucore as he walked along the road Sept. 10, 2016.
Among his injuries, Lucore, then 27, suffered fractures to his pelvis, face, ribs and spine, a collapsed lung, and abrasions all over his body.
Witnesses and photos of the crash scene, however, indicate that there was nothing obstructing Gorham’s view, Bartlett said during his closing argument Thursday afternoon. And in fact, tire marks left on the street from Gorham’s pickup suggest that he accelerated toward Lucore, Bartlett said, rather than applying his brakes.
Gorham testified that he had been drinking the night of Sept. 9 and much of the following day. He estimated that he drank an 18-pack of beer Sept. 10 and was intoxicated well over the legal limit.
According to Bartlett, Lucore had been in the area of Gorham’s house to visit a friend, but she wasn’t home when he arrived. Gorham began yelling at Lucore to leave the area. Lucore started to yell back, prompting Gorham to say, “I’m going to run you over with my truck,” Bartlett told jurors, and said that Lucore threatened to cut Gorham.
Gorham said that it was actually his neighbor who first told Lucore to leave and that he had intervened when Lucore began cursing at her. He said Lucore pulled out a straight blade and threatened to cut him and his mother. After exchanging more words, Lucore left.
Gorham testified that he decided to chase down Lucore in his pickup, with the intention of beating him up.
“I did not intend to kill him. I did not intend to inflict great bodily injury,” he said, adding that he didn’t intend to run him down with his truck.
He estimated he was traveling about 35 mph in a 25 mph zone, did a rolling stop at the stop sign and didn’t see Lucore until it was too late. Gorham said he panicked after hitting Lucore and drove home, because he knew he was in trouble.
“I snapped that day. That was not me,” he told the jury.
His defense attorney, Chris Ramsay, said in his closing arguments that it doesn’t make sense for Gorham to want to kill Lucore over him mouthing off.
He argued that jurors should question Lucore’s credibility, because he suffers from schizophrenia and said he was hearing voices that day and had methamphetamine in his system. Ramsay said Lucore imagined Gorham threatening to run him over or made it up after the fact.
Gorham should be punished for his criminal negligence, Ramsay said, and not for attempted murder.
In addition to attempted first-degree murder, Gorham is facing hit-and-run resulting in injury, first-degree assault and a lesser-included charge of third-degree assault.
Bartlett argued that intoxication doesn’t excuse Gorham’s behavior, neither does his anger from the verbal confrontation with Lucore.
Gorham’s intentions were made clear, he said, in recorded phone calls he made from the Clark County Jail.
In one call, Gorham is heard saying, “What I do, I do for a good (expletive) reason, and I did what I did for a good reason, and I got threatened.”