MESA, Ariz. - Closing arguments were held on Tuesday in the murder trial of a former Mesa Police officer charged in the shooting death of an unarmed man.
After nearly two months, the case is now in the hands of the jury after attorneys wrapped up their cases. The defense stated the shooting was justified and committed in self-defense and in defense of the other officers.
The state claims Philip Brailsford's actions were unjustified and unreasonable, saying he murdered an innocent man.
"The last thing in the world Mr. Brailsford wanted to do that night was fire a weapon at [Daniel] Shaver or anyone. His goal was save and protect lives," said defense attorney Mike Picaretta.
Brailford's fate is now in the hands of strangers. The 27-year-old awaits the verdict that could turn his actions on the job last year into a murder conviction.
"Mr. Shaver is not a bad person, but his actions that night are what brought the police to the hotel," added Picaretta.
26-year-old Daniel Shaver was demonstrating and pointing his pellet rifle out of a 5th story window at the La Quinta Inn, which led to the police response. During that confrontation, Shaver reached toward his back as if he were reaching for a gun, which Brailsford took as an imminent threat, opening fire and killing Shaver.
"This defendant may have been a police officer the night he killed Daniel Shaver, but he was not a reasonable one. He became a killer that night," said prosecutor Susie Charbel.
Charbel claims the other five officers at the scene did not open fire, only Brailsford. She said Shaver's actions showed he was not a threat and his last word was "please."
"He was scared, he was crying, he was crawling around.. begging not to be shot."
"He doesn't get to blame the conductor of the orchestra as he's called Sgt. Langley as the conductor and this guy is only playing an instrument. He doesn't get to blame the conductor. He doesn't get to blame his victim, the person that he killed and he certainly doesn't get a pass because he was wearing a police uniform that night," said Charbel.
The jury must weigh all the evidence and decide if Brailsford is guilty of second degree murder. If they find him not guilty, they can consider whether or not he's guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter, or they can acquit him of the charges altogether. It all boils down to do they believe this police shooting was justified, self-defense or murder.