Clayton County Executive Assistant District Attorney LaLaine Briones held up slain Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Daly’s blood soaked pay stub in front of a jury on Friday, and painted it as a symbol for what the deputy sacrificed for the county.
She used the symbolism of the pay stub - which Daly had with him when he was shot and killed on July 20, 2011 – during closing arguments in the trial of his accused killer, Veasna Johnathan Bun. It was an attempt to sway the jury to convict the 17-year old of a long list of charges, including murder.
“This pay stub bears his blood,” Briones told. “He bled and he died for the citizens of this county, your county. He died for every single person in this courtroom. You’ll see how much money he makes. The service he gave, we can never pay him enough for what he gave up — for what he [Bun] took from all of Daly’s family.”
The nearly three hours of closing arguments given by prosecutors and defense attorneys on Friday morning wrapped up what has at times been an emotional trial. It has drawn the attention of several sheriff’s deputies, and courthouse employees.
A dozen members of Daly’s family have been in the courtroom for each trial, compared to Bun’s only supporters including his step-mother and a family friend. Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham-Lawson, Sheriff Kem Kimbrough, and Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Garland Watkins have occasionally sat in on the proceedings.
It is now up to the jury to decide whether Bun is guilty, or innocent of the 19 charges against him. In additional to malice and felony murder, the teenager is charged with several counts of aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime, obstruction of an officer, and theft by receiving stolen property.
A murder conviction alone could result in Bun, who is set to turn 18 in a week-and-a-half, being sentenced to life in prison.
As the attorneys presented their closing statements in the trial, prosecutors took aim at Bun’s behavior in the hours after Daly’s death, when law enforcement officers searched for him, and during this past week as he was on trial for the deputy’s murder.
Briones accused Bun of having an “abandoned and malignant” heart. “The man has no heart,” she said. “He shot someone, and he comes in to this courtroom as if it’s a game.”
Defense attorney Lloyd Matthews admitted, in his closing arguments, it would be difficult for jurors to hand down a “Not Guilty” verdict, “but nevertheless, I am going to ask you to hand down a ‘Not Guilty’ verdict on all of the charges.”
Matthews tried to convince jurors, however, that at least some of the blame for Daly’s death should be put on deputies who were at the scene when he was shot for not handling Bun with more caution.
“Why not contain the situation and set up a perimeter first,” the attorney argued.
The defense attorney also proposed a conspiracy theory, however, where he claims Daly had drawn his weapon before encountering Bun, and first responders put it back his holster after his death, to make it appear that he never drew the weapon.
One of Bun’s claims, when he took the witness stand on Thursday, was that he pulled out his gun and shot Daly because he saw someone coming towards him with a gun in their hand, without realizing it was a sheriff’s deputy.
In a briefly mentioned, and barely fleshed out, thread of his closing arguments, Matthews also tried to humanize his client, and seek compassion from jurors.
“He’s not a lying dog,” Matthews said. “He’s still a human being, just like Deputy Daly is a human being.”
The jury was expected to begin its deliberations at 2:30 p.m., after it takes a lunch break. Check news-daily.com later today for updates.