Steven Jones, an Arizona college student charged with murder, took the stand in his own defense. Jones contends that he felt so scared for his own life when he was being “attacked” by a bunch of drunk college students after an off-campus party on October 9, 2015 that he had no choice but to open fire.
“If I waited another split second, I’d get seriously hurt, or die, because they were right on top of me,” he said.
The then-freshman at Northern Arizona University shot four other students killing one of them. Jones claims that he acted in self-defense after being chased during a brawl. Prosecutors allege that Jones was merely sucker-punched by drunken fraternity members and that the shooting was not justified.
On Thursday afternoon, Jones took the jurors minute by minute describing what lead up to the shooting that left Colin Brough dead, and Nick Piring, Nick Prato, and Kyle Zientek injured.
Jones painted a picture of mayhem, in which he felt threatened by students who were attacking them. He said it started with a punch. He said he tried to run away from the altercation but the group of boys chased him. He ran to his car, but says he couldn’t find the keys to turn the car on.
“They were yelling, ‘I’ll f**** kill you, p***y,’ stuff like that,’ he said.
“I realized I needed to do something so I got the gun out of my glove box. I yelled as loud as I possibly could, don’t f**** move I have a gun. The guys who were chasing me I told the to get on the ground, don’t f***ing move, I have gun. They charged at me,” Jones said. Jones claims one of the attackers yelled, “I’ll f**ng kill you,” and another lunged at him. That’s when he said he had no choice but to open fire.
“I knew that if I didn’t fire right then, I would be seriously hurt, or die. There’s no doubt in my mind,” Jones said.
Jones said that after he fired the shots, he was attacked by more students, and fired into the air to get the group away from him. He said when police arrived he was relieved, and quickly identified himself as the shooter. Earlier witnesses, including the three victims, testified that it was Jones being the aggressor.
Jones is facing one charge of first-degree premeditated murder and six charges of aggravated assault.
Aaron Keller contributed to this report.
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