AKRON– Prosecutors are nearing the end of their case against Kenan Ivery who admits firing the shots that killed Akron Police Officer Justin Winebrenner on November 16.
The second week of Ivery’s murder trial started very much like the first with jurors hearing from another of the five people who were in the way of bullets that were fired from Ivery’s .40-caliber handgun.
Ivery admits returning to Papa Don’s Pub in Akron after having already been asked to leave because he was making some of the customers uncomfortable.
Jurors on Monday saw enhanced video from a surveillance camera that appears to show Ivery tucking the gun in the waistband of his pants as he got out of his car.
Seconds later, he walks in the bar where he is confronted by Winebrenner’s fiance, who is an owner of the bar, and who had just minutes earlier asked him to leave.
David Eisele, who was there at the time, testified on Monday that he saw Ivery appear to be flashing something that he thought at first was either a gun or a cell phone. “You could clearly see it was a gun. You could see the butt of it sticking out,” said Eisele.
“Officer Winebrenner went over and was confronting him. They were talking and then they kept getting closer and closer to each other. I kind of walked over that way and I saw him standing with the gun in his right hand,” he testified.
Eisele said he grabbed Ivery only after the gun was already drawn.
“I grabbed his arm and we kind of shoved him into the inflatable Browns guy. ‘Do you remember what happened next?’ I remember Officer Winebrenner came over and it was almost like a big dog pile. I remember falling down by the front door and hearing shots,” he told the jury.
Surveillance video shows Winebrenner, who was off-duty at the time, continuing to push Ivery out of the bar and into the parking lot as more shots are fired.
Eisele said he ran outside after them and found Winebrenner on the ground after having been shot twice.
“I saw he was shot and I put my hand on his chest and put pressure on it and I said ‘I got to look,’ and I pulled his shirt up a little bit and I saw he was shot in the stomach also. I put both of my hands on him and I believe at that time Officer Russel came out and was at Justin’s head talking to him, trying to talk to him,” said Eisele.
In the meantime, a bar employee who was in the parking lot, also testified on Monday that he saw the gun laying in a parking lot, and put it in a nearby dumpster where only he would know where it was until police arrived.
Jeffrey Bates,Jr. also testified that he overheard a conversation between Ivery and Officer Winebrenner that took place as Ivery was leaving the first time. He said the comments were directed at Winebrenner’s fiance.
“He (Ivery) slowly made his way out. He stopped where Justin was sitting and he said two or three times that ‘I will smack that b**** up’ close to Justin in his ear, said Bates.
Prosecutors said Ivery came back with the gun and a grudge, angry for having been disrespected and asked to leave the first time.
He admits being the person with the gun in the bar, and admits he is guilty of three firearms charges against him.
Prosecutors on Monday also called two police officers who arrested Ivery on drug related charges in 2008 and 2011 for which he was convicted.
Among the charges in the 2011 case was having a weapon under disability, which means because of his previous drug conviction he was not allowed to own a gun.
Prosecutors could finish presenting their case on Tuesday, after which Ivery’s defense attorneys could start presenting their case.
In opening statements, they claim Ivery only came back to the bar to get a box of wings that he had already paid for but he forgot to take with him when he left the first time.
Ivery’s attorneys said he didn’t come into the bar ‘blasting away’ and that the gun was only drawn after he felt surrounded and threatened by Winebrenner and others inside the bar.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty if Ivery is convicted of the most serious charges against him.