Surfer Slaying Witnesses Describe Fatal Fight

Trial enters second day of testimony

More eyewitness testimony in the trial of Seth Cravens accused in the beating death of a local surfer Tuesday afternoon. 

Emery Kauanui was beaten May 24, 2007 outside his La Jolla home, and died days later.  Four suspects have pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and other crimes in the death.  But Cravens refused the plea bargain and he is now accused of throwing the punch that killed Kauanui. 

 His defense attorney says it was self defense.

Karen Loftis is testifying during the afternoon session.  She was on her way over to Kauanui's house when she saw the fight. She testified that Kauanui did not make any aggressive moves toward Cravens when she says Cravens punched him and Kauanui fell to the ground, cracking his head.


12:00 p.m.:  Witnesses at the trial of a man accused of killing a professional surfer in La Jolla last year testify Tuesday about the bloody crime scene.

Seth Cravens, 22, is accused of causing the death of professional surfer , Emery Kauanui, Jr., 24, with a single punch in La Jolla in May 2007.  Prosecutors are saying the slaying was murder.

Defense attorney Mary Ellen Attridge maintains that Cravens was simply defending himself against an aggressive Kauanui.

Cravens and four other men were charged in connection with the case: They all pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the beating death. The four other men were sentenced to prison and probation for their roles in the slaying.

Cravens could face 15 years to life in prison if convicted.


11:08 a.m.: A friend and neighbor of Kuannui, Kelsay Corona,  said he heard Jenny Grosso, Kauanui's girlfriend, screaming. 

"She was saying, 'Get off ... Seth, please stop. Get off him,' " Corona testified.
Corona said that there was a lot of stomping and hitting. He described the hitting as "very rapid." He said he also heard voices saying, "Get him, get him." 
Corona told the court that the scene was "very frantic, in a manner that was very disturbing, completely."
"I saw Emery laying there on the corner with his head cracked open," Corona testified. "There was blood everywhere."
Describing Corona after the beating, Kelsay said "he was shocked.... bleeding out the back of his head." Corona testified that Emery said he wanted to go home.


10:15 a.m.: Neighbor Philip Baltazar took the stand Tuesday morning. He testified that he was awakened at about 1:18 a.m. and heard voices. He said the tone of Kauanui's voice was antagonistic -- and that he was using foul language -- and that he heard a woman's voice telling him to come inside in a pleading fashion. Baltazar said he thought the woman speaking was  Kauanui's mother and that the incident would soon be over.

Baltazar said he moved to another bedroom and was awakened again when he heard his wife calling 911. He said there were four people kicking and punching Kauanui.

This was testimony under cross-examination. There was a short recess afterward while the prosecutor tried to locate her next witness.

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