DAVIS (CBS13) — A jury will have to decide if a Davis man was killed in cold blood, or if the suspect was helping him commit suicide.
James Mings walked into Yolo County Court today in handcuffs, facing first-degree murder charges for allegedly strangling Kevin Seery back in 2011.
Mings’ defense attorney claims the victim, who was suffering from diabetes, wanted to die.
His attorney says Mings choked Seery until he passed out. But he says it was another man in the home, Tom McDermott, who later shoved a shock down Seery’s throat, ultimately causing his death.
“You’re only liable for a crime if you caused the bad result,” said John Myers with the McGeorge School of Law at the University of Pacific. “If somebody came along later and actually killed the guy, then arguably Mr. Mings is not guilty of murder.”
The defense is also making an argument for a lesser charge of manslaughter.
“The jury sometimes goes for a middle ground, so they might decide on manslaughter even though the facts could support a murder conviction.
But prosecutors present a different case, saying Mings and McDermott mave have conspired together to end Seery’s life.
And even if they pair didn’t kill Seery together, prosecutors point out assisting in someone else’s suicide is still murder.
“If what Mr. Mings did actually would have results in death, and somebody came along and made the victim die quicker, it can still be murder,” said Myers.
Because of the complexity of the case, the jury is not expected to reach a verdict immediately.