Appearing soft-spoken and mild-mannered 22-year-old Kamhen Saleh took the stand in his own defense. Saleh is charged for the charges for the shooting deaths of Omar Calderon and Adam Verdusco outside of a Porterville OfficeMax back in August.
Saleh claims self-defense and says Calderon and Verdusco were in the process of breaking into his car and stealing a backpack with $44,000 in cash. On the stand Friday Saleh describes a struggle with one of the men as they were both holding onto the backpack of cash.
"To the direction of the opposite side to where I was standing I heard someone say like hurry drop that fool or something like that," Saleh said.
Taking that to mean he was about to be assaulted Saleh says he then saw the man he was struggling with pull out a knife. He confirmed with his attorney that it was the one discovered at the scene. At that point Saleh said he let go of the backpack.
"Because I believed he could have used it. If I was still holding the bag he would have used it on me," Saleh said.
Saleh testified that next the man took the back and was standing next to his car at which point Saleh said he briefly went back into his car to get a gun from under the driver's seat. Saleh said as he was standing behind the victims' car he heard them talk about running him over.
"My first instinct was to get away but I was just like stuck like my feet I couldn't do anything to run away," Saleh said.
He testified as he the car came toward him he fired his weapon into their car and then again when he says their car started speeding towards him a second time. Seconds later Saleh says he got into his car to follow them and try and get their license plate number. The two cars ultimately crashed just yards away down Henderson Ave.
Both Verdusco and Calderon died from their gunshot wounds. Saleh claims self-defense. Prosecutors say Saleh didn't have to shoot the men and could have gone to a safe area away from them to avoid anyone being hurt.
On Monday both the prosecution and defense will argue their sides of the case. Then the judge will make a final decision as to what charges Kemhen Saleh will face.