RENO, Nev. – A Nevada prosecutor on Friday urged jurors to convict a 74-year-old man of first-degree murder, saying he was seeking out a deadly confrontation when he shot two unarmed trespassers in a vacant duplex he owns.
Retired Sparks schoolteacher Wayne Burgarello maintains he was acting in self-defense when he killed Cody Devine and seriously wounded Janai Wilson last year.
A jury in Reno is expected to begin deliberations Friday afternoon after defense lawyer Theresa Ristenpart gives her closing statement.
Assistant district attorney Bruce Hahn told jurors the sleeping trespassers had no business being at Burgarello's duplex. But he said they did nothing to threaten Burgarello and didn't deserve to be "shot like fish in a barrel."
Devine was shot five times, including once in the head. Wilson was shot in her leg, arm and stomach.
Neither trespasser had a gun, but Burgarello told police Devine's arm "came up like a gun." His attorney said Burgarello might have mistaken a black flashlight found at the scene for a firearm.
Two neighbors testified that Burgarello told them years ago that he might arm himself and wait for people responsible for repeatedly vandalizing and burglarizing the property.
The case is the latest in a series to test self-defense claims under "stand your ground" laws across the U.S.
More than 30 states have adopted or strengthened such laws since Florida expanded its stand-your-ground law in 2005 to allow deadly force outside the home. Interpretation of the laws has been controversial since a jury in that state acquitted George Zimmerman in Trayvon Martin's 2012 shooting death.
Nevada's stand-your-ground law allows deadly force against attackers who pose an imminent threat, regardless of whether they are armed. But it specifies the shooter cannot be the initial aggressor.