Final Fireworks Sends Jurors to Deliberate

Jurors began deliberations Monday in the trial of Seth Cravens, the La Jolla man accused of punching and killing professional surfer Emery Kauanui.
Seth Cravens, 22, was one of five members of the so-called "Bird Rock Bandits."  The men were drinking at a La Jolla bar on May 23, 2007. Cravens' friend, Eric House, had an altercation with another patron, professional surfer Emery Kauanui. That led to a street fight outside Kauanui's home in the early morning hours of May 24.

Cravens’ attorney Mary Allen Attridge told the jury that her client acted in self-defense.  She walked jurors through the time line and described testimony that she says proved  Kauanui was in a “homicidal state of mind” the morning of the confrontation. “He was inviting a fight,” said Attridge.

In what was arguably the most dramatic moment of the day, Attridge leaned towards prosecutor Sophia Roach yelling obscenities. She then ended with the words “Choo, choo” referring to what she had earlier called a runaway train of a prosecution.

In her closing arguments Friday, prosecutor Sophia Roach said the evidence reveals that Cravens had a history of violence and had threatened to kill people. Roach also said Cravens knew, or should have known that his punches could be deadly. "This is not an accident," she said about the fatal punch. "This is not Mr. Cravens stepping off the curb and landing on Mr. Kauanui. This is an intentional act. This is not an accident."

Today in her rebuttal, Roach asked jurors to consider how a reasonable person would react in a confrontation like the one between Cravens and Kauanui. She refuted the defense's claim that this was an act of self-defense saying “This was a planned and deliberate act.”

Four other defendants, including Eric House, have pleaded guilty to lesser crimes. They were sentenced to various terms in county jail. Two of those defendants, House and Henri "Hank" Hendricks, testified for the defense in Cravens' trial.

If convicted, Cravens faces 15 years to life.

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