Kelowna second-degree murder trial now in hands of the jury

Steven Pirko of Kelowna doesn’t deny that he killed 32 year-old Chris Ausman when the two strangers crossed paths in Rutland more than five years ago.

Pirko said he did it to protect his friend.

In closing arguments on Thursday in Pirko’s second degree murder trial, defence told the jury that Pirko’s friend, Elrich Dyck — who Pirko referred to as his big brother — called out for help because he was losing a fight with Ausman.

Pirko said he hit Ausman on the head with a hammer, but never intended to kill him.

However, the Crown says Pirko had other options than to hit Ausman, 32, with the hammer.

“What did Mr. Pirko do? He resorted to a weapon immediately,” Crown counsel David Grabavac told the jury.

The Crown pointed out that Pirko had plenty of time to think about his actions, because the fight between Dyck and Ausman had lasted for more than one minute before Pirko struck Ausman.

“He’s sitting there, watching the fight. He’s got time to be thinking: ‘What happens if my big brother starts to lose?’ But what did he do? He went for a weapon immediately,” Grabavac said.

The defence argued that Pirko was intoxicated when he killed Ausman, but the Crown says intoxication in this case is not relevant.

It pointed out that Pirko remembered to change his clothes after the killing and returned to the murder scene to retrieve his dropped iPod.

But the Crown says the most compelling evidence against Pirko was a statement he made to police before being charged.

The Crown says the statement suggests that Pirko knew that hitting someone on the head a hammer could result in death.

The Crown says Pirko told the police: “I realize that [swear-word] people are not made of titanium and a [swear word] shot to the head can kill someone.”

The Crown says the statements suggest Pirko intended to kill or cause bodily harm to Ausman.

The jury could begin deliberating through the weekend or start next week.

A conviction for second degree murder carries a minimum 10-year prison sentence.

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