Testimony wraps up in NAU murder trial; case goes to jury next week

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Testimony has concluded in the Steven Jones murder trial for the October 2015 shooting at Northern Arizona University. That shooting left one student dead and three others injured.

Friday, Jones was back on the stand after giving testimony on Thursday and facing cross-examination by the prosecution.

[Special section: NAU shooting]

Under redirect question by his own attorney, Jones reiterated that he only shot when he felt his life was in danger. The prosecution is trying to prove premeditation, for a first-degree murder conviction.

Jones attorney took the opportunity to address some of the issues the prosecutor grilled Jones on, on Thursday.

Thursday, Jones testified that when he grabbed his gun out of his glove box and took it out of its carry case, he instinctively chambered a round.

Friday Jones explained that in no way meant he had made a decision to fire his gun.  

"When you chamber a round, it's just so you know that if you have to, God forbid, you have to fire, you can do it in time it takes, so you don't have to take your hand off the grip and take seconds to do it at the last second. You don't know if you'll have time," said Jones.

The prosecution also hammered Jones about making the decision to grab his gun and re-engage with the guys he said he was afraid of, instead of staying in his car and locking the doors, driving away or calling 911.

"I was frantic and panicked and I was fumbling around, kind of like screaming to myself. You know like, 'oh my God, oh my God.' Uh, I was just, you know, terrified," said Jones.

Jones attorney asked him if he felt as if he had enough time to consider the options the prosecutor proposed. To which Jones replied, "No. Less than five seconds."

Jones also had a chance to clarify why he shot a second round of shots after mortally wounded Colin Brough and shooting Nicholas Piring.  

There were five to six to ten people on top of me. And they were trying to get my gun. And they were kicking me in the head and stomach and punching me and I was getting pummeled on the bottom of a pile. And I was in a headlock and someone was trying to twist my arm and I was struggling, said Jones.

It was at that point Jones said he got control of his gun and fired n the air a number of times to disperse the crowd and get them off of him.

Several of those bullets ended up hitting and wounding two other people, Nicholas Plato and Kyle Zientek.  All of the victims were Delta Chi Fraternity brothers. They also all were underage but had blood alcohol levels over the legal limit. 

Brough's alcohol level was reportedly more than three times the legal limit.

The prosecution did get Jones to admit that shortly after the shooting, in an eight-hour, voluntary interview with police, the types of things he explained to police turned out to be flat out wrong.

Jones said he was extremely emotional, exhausted and even told the officers that what he was going to tell them was probably not accurate because of the state he was in.

Court will resume Tuesday at 9 a.m. with jury instructions and closing statements.

Jones faces charges of first-degree murder in the death of Brough and aggravated assault for the shootings of Piring, Plato and Zientek.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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