The defense rested Tuesday without calling the only surviving witness to a 2004 shooting, who claims he shot and killed another man in self-defense.
Harold A. Fish, 59, is accused of second-degree murder in connection with the May 11, 2004, shooting death of Grant Kuenzli at a trailhead near Pine.
On Tuesday, the defense, led
by Phoenix attorney A. Melvin McDonald, rested its case without calling Fish to the stand. McDonald had said in opening statements that the jury would hear Fish testify.
After rebuttal witnesses, the trial, being held in Coconino County Superior Court, must wait until the Arizona Court of Appeals decides whether a new law governing self-defense will apply to Fish.
Whichever way the court rules will likely postpone the trial further.
The newly enacted law places less of a burden on the defendant, forcing the prosecution to prove without a reasonable doubt the defendant was not acting in self-defense. The old law held the defendant responsible for the burden of proof.
The appellate court has promised a ruling by June 8. The trial is scheduled to resume at that point. But David Rozema, chief deputy attorney, Coconino County, said whichever way the appellate court rules, the judgment will likely be appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court.
See related story:
Fish trial stalled as judges agree to hear appeal (May 19)