Defense Attorney: Darshae Dews Committed Second Degree Murder

FRESNO, Calif.

In closing arguments, the attorney for 19-year-old Darshae Dews said everybody in court knew this was a murder and they knew who committed it: Darshae Dews. But he's arguing for a conviction on second degree murder instead of first.

In an unusual case, public defender Jim Lambe used an unusual analogy to make his point. "Watch me try to put this book into this pitcher," he told the jury. "It won't go. It just won't go."

Lambe says the evidence against Dews doesn't fit the description of first degree murder. He admits Dews killed Arthur Lopez last July.

Surveillance video from the area shows Dews walking away with a bag of things he stole from the house. But Lambe says the prosecution didn't prove it was a robbery or burglary, essentially arguing that you can't rob from a man who's already dead.

Prosecutor Steve Wright says there was no other reason for Dews to walk into Lopez's Central Fresno home. Wright says Lopez confronted Dews in the middle of the robbery, so Dews found this kitchen knife and stabbed Lopez enough times to make sure the only witness to his crime was dead. "How many times [did Dews stab Lopez] in the back?" asked prosecutor Steve Wright. "Seventeen."

Wright then pounded the podium in front of the jury 17 times in succession. Dews did not testify in his own defense and he has not made the case easy for his attorney.

For one, he chose to appear in court in a yellow jail jumpsuit and shackles instead of in street clothes with his hands free. He also refused to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. The case is now in the jury's hands.

A second degree murder conviction would mean a sentence of 15 years to life for Dews. A conviction for first degree murder with the special circumstances of robbery or burglary would mean life without parole.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.