EVERETT — A shooting outside a Marysville tavern 15 months ago was a case of someone who picked a fight, lost it and then shot and killed the other combatant, a Snohomish County deputy prosecutor told a jury on Monday.
The shooting, which had racial overtones, amounted to second-degree murder, prosecutor John Stansell said.
The evidence shows Kevin Jory Braa acted in self-defense, public defender Marybeth Dingledy said. She acknowledged that Braa made some stupid comments to American Indians, including to Simeon Whitney, 35, of Wapato, the man who was killed.
She told the jury Whitney viciously attacked Braa, who constantly carries his gun for protection. Braa fired numerous shots in self-defense, Dingledy said.
A jury late Monday started contemplating the two versions of what happened outside Kuhnle’s Tavern. The panel will resume deliberations this morning.
Braa, 47, of Marysville, admittedly has strong views on race. He walked into the tavern for a drink and to read a book, “Hitler Sky Warrior.”
He testified Monday that he was attacked immediately after he walked out the tavern’s back door after several verbal confrontations with Whitney and the slain man’s brother.
“It wasn’t a fight. It was an assault and a beating,” Braa testified. He said he couldn’t tell who was beating him.
A roommate testified earlier that Braa came home after the shooting and said that he thought he shot “a subhuman.”
Braa told the jury he defined a “subhuman” as anybody who is not white and American.
Stansell said a surveillance video inside the bar shows an upset Braa confronting the victim’s brother.
“He’s angry at the nonwhite people in the bar, the ‘subhumans,’ ” Stansell told jurors. “The fight Mr. Braa picked in that bar, the fight that he provoked, was a mistake.”
Stansell maintains the shooting happened after Braa lost the fight. Whitney was struck in each buttock and the side. He stumbled back inside the bar and walked several feet before collapsing. Whitney died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Braa drove away, hid the 9mm pistol and told his roommate to lie for him.
He was arrested several days later after a several-hour police standoff. Braa refused to come out of his residence in the 13800 block of 19th Avenue NE until sheriff’s deputies fired tear-gas canisters into the home.
Jurors don’t have to like Braa’s views on race, Dingledy told them. Braa was not looking for a fight.
“He was just being stupid and making stupid comments,” she told the panel.
Her client didn’t physically attack Whitney or his brother, Dingledy told the jury, and what happened in the tavern’s parking lot was a beating, not a fight.
“He shot because he had no choice,” Dingledy said. “It was self-defense. You may not like it. You may not like Kevin, but that doesn’t change the facts.”
Reporter Jim Haley: 425-339-3447 or firstname.lastname@example.org.