Defense: Suspect in death of Akron officer fired gun in self-defense

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AKRON, Ohio -- Jurors are hearing more emotional testimony Tuesday in the trial of the man accused of shooting and killing an off-duty Akron police officer. 

Kenan Ivery admits firing the shots that killed Officer Justin Winebrenner at a local pub on Nov. 16, 2014. Winebrenner was off-duty at the time.

Prosecutors called Ann Marie Kuzio to the witness stand Tuesday.

Kuzio is a former employee of Papa Don's Pub, where the shooting happened, but was there among friends on the night of the shooting.

She testified that well before the shooting, Ivery was making her uncomfortable by making passes at her even after she told him she was there with her boyfriend.

"When I looked over, this person sitting over here, was very aggressive and trying to get my attention to come over and talk to him, " Kuzio testified, pointing to Ivery in the courtroom.

"He just kept wanting me to come over there and talk to him and I explained, I was like 'no, I'm cool,' I was like, 'I have a boyfriend.' He just kept saying 'come over here' and I then pointed out my boyfriend. I was like 'he's standing right over there' and that's when he kind of got out of his seat a little bit and said 'I don't care, I have a 40,' she told the jury.

Under cross-examination Kuzio testified she didn't know what "I have a 40" meant.

"I had no clue he had a gun on him at all," Kuzio testified.

In opening statements on Monday, prosecutors say it was because Ivery was making Kuzio uncomfortable that he was asked to leave the bar.

Prosecutors say he returned minutes armed with a .40 caliber handgun he had tucked in his waistband intending to confront the people he felt had disrespected him.

Winebrenner and two others approached Ivery after he returned to the pub and is seen on surveillance video flashing the gun.

The video shows a scuffle taking place within seconds, during which four shots are fired.

Two of those shots hit Winebrenner, killing him.

Defense attorneys say Ivery is responsible for firing the shots, which also injured four others at the bar that night.

But they say Ivery did not return to settle a score, insisting he returned to the bar because he left a meal of chicken wings there that he had already paid for and was boxed up for him.

In cross-examination on Tuesday, Kuzio admitted that if Ivery intended to harm the people who he felt disrespected him he had the opportunity to do so when he first returned to the bar.

Defense attorneys say when the fatal shots were fired, Ivery was not targeting anyone in particular.

They believe Ivery was not being the aggressor and that the shots were fired in self-defense when the effort to remove him from the bar became physical.

They admit he should not have had a gun at the bar that night and told the jury on Monday that he is guilty of three of the eighteen charges he faces, all of which specifically deal with firearms.

Prosecutors are seeking a death penalty if Ivery is convicted of the most serious charges.

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