Prosecutors rest case in trial of man accused of killing Akron police officer

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Kenan Ivery (Photo: Dave Nethers/Fox 8 News)

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AKRON, Ohio-- A little more than a week after calling their first witnesses, prosecutors in the trial of Kenan Ivery have rested their case.

Ivery faces a possible death penalty if he is convicted of the most serious charges in an 18-count indictment related to the fatal shooting of Akron Police Officer Justin Winebrenner last November.

He admits being the person who fired the shots that killed  Winebrenner, 36, at Papa Don's Pub in Akron.

Four others were also hit or grazed by  bullets during the shooting.

Winebrenner was off-duty at the bar with friends,when Ivery was asked to leave because he was making some of the female customers uncomfortable.

Prosecutors say Ivery felt disrespected and angry because he had been asked to leave so he returned to the bar minutes later with a .40-caliber handgun tucked in his waistband.

Surveillance video from the pub, which has been the foundation for the prosecution's case,  shows Ivery flashing the gun several times after returning to the bar.

Moments later, Winebrenner and two others are seen struggling with Ivery. They tried to get him and his gun out of the bar.

David Eisele, who testified on Monday, said he and Winebrenner grabbed Ivery only after the gun was already drawn.

Enhanced surveillance video played in court on Monday appears to confirm Eisele's testimony, that Ivery drew the gun before the struggle.

On Tuesday, jurors heard from Assistant Summit County Medical Examiner Dr. Dorothy Dean who testified that Winebenner died of gunshot wounds to his torso.

"For Mr. Winebrenner the manner of death is a homicide," explained Dean, defining that as "death at the hands of another person."

Jurors were told that Winebrenner suffered two gunshot wounds, one to the chest and another to the abdomen.

Dean said the wound to his abdomen could have caused death very rapidly; if he had only had the second wound, which grazed his spinal column, he might have lived a little longer "having said that he also could have died from it," she testified.

The surveillance video from the bar has been played many times for the jurors during the first week of the trial but there are differences of opinion on what the video shows.

Defense attorneys will now have an opportunity to present their own witnesses.

In opening statements, Defense Attorney John Greven said Ivery only returned to the bar because he left wings behind and wanted to go back to pick them up.

That statement was challenged by an Akron police detective on Tuesday who testified that during witness interviews police were told "Kenan didn't want his (expletive) wings."

Greven also claimed in opening statement that while Ivery did have the gun in the bar, there was no prior calculation in his decision to take the gun in with him.

Greven claims Ivery only started flashing the gun after he felt threatened by statements made to him after he returned to the bar.

"He doesn't come in blasting," defense attorney Greven told the jury in opening statements last week.

Greven also told the jury that the gun came out only after the effort to remove him from the bar became physical.

"What you have to understand is he does not pull the gun out and aim at a certain person, nothing like that. As he frankly is getting pushed, knocked on his a**, for lack of a better phrase, the gun starts firing randomly. It's tragic. Mr Winebrenner was struck but it doesn't change factually what happened here," added Greven in his opening statements.

Greven also admitted in his opening statements that Ivery is guilty of three of the charges, all of which deal specifically with firearms.

It is not clear if Ivery himself will be called to testify on his own behalf.

Defense attorneys are expected to start calling their own witnesses on Wednesday.

**Continuing coverage right here**

 

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