LIHUE — Both the state and the defense delivered closing arguments Wednesday to 12 jurors who will begin deliberations to determine whether Kyle Welch intentionally tried to kill one man and threaten another at Anini Beach.
Welch, 28, is charged with attempted murder in the second degree and terroristic threatening in the first degree for allegedly trying to kill Jeremy Alderson and threatening Jesse Reynolds while holding a machete on Jan. 9, 2104, according to court records.
Fifteen witnesses, including Welch, testified over seven days. Psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors who treated Alderson, medics and Kauai Police Department officers all testified.
Deputy prosecutor John Murphy said the jurors — 11 men and one woman — were not here to determine Welch’s guilt.
“That was undisputed,” he said.
“When you beat someone to the verge of death and then minutes after you leave them they actually do die, but they are lucky enough to be saved,” Murphy said, “that’s pretty much the end of the ball game.”
Police found Welch after the fight holding a guitar and machete and spontaneously uttering statements, which were made admissible into evidence. At that time, he told police he had “just beat the (expletive) out of that guy up there.”
Murphy told jurors to “come back with a just verdict” and find Welch guilty of attempted murder in the second degree and terroristic threatening in the first degree.
Murphy called Welch’s defense “mistaken and desperate.”
Early Wednesday morning during Welch’s cross-examination by Murphy, he testified that he had been abducted by aliens while living in Idaho with a girlfriend.
Welch said that during the fight between him and Alderson, he was not in control of his faculties, but that he didn’t think he was wrong in the way that he handled himself. He thought he was defending himself, he testified.
Welch also said he did not intend to kill Alderson.
“He is not dead,” Welch said. “I did not use deadly force. I did not have control over the situation. It was beyond my control.”
He disputed Alderson’s claim that the fight took an hour and half, testifying it might have taken 10-15 minutes.
Defense attorney Craig De Costa said it’s not a matter of whodunit.
“But it’s what was done and why it was done,” De Costa said.
Welch had a right to self-defense when Alderson pulled a machete on him, De Costa told the jurors. Welch tried to beat it out of his hand, he said.
“But that didn’t stop Jeremy Alderson because he grabbed another weapon,” he said.
That’s when Welch started using his elbows, De Costa told the jurors.
De Costa said both Reynolds and Alderson were not credible witnesses. One had tested positive for amphetamine use and the other could not positively say whether he had been threatened, De Costa said.
De Costa also said Alderson had exaggerated claims about the attack and questioned why there had been no blood found on any of the weapons he claimed were used to attack him.
“Was it reasonable for Kyle Welch to beat Jeremy Alderson until he gave up?” De Costa said. “The defense submits yes.”
The jury has options if they find the defendant not guilty. They can also find him guilty of lesser charges for count one: assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree or assault in the third degree.
For count two, the jury can find him not guilty of terroristic threatening in the first degree, but guilty of the lesser charge of terroristic threatening in the second degree.