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Jurors weigh question of who shot Durham police officer

Posted August 12, 2015

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— Jurors began deliberating Wednesday afternoon in the trial of a man accused of shooting a Durham police officer three years ago.

Officer Kelly Stewart was shot in the thigh during a confrontation with Carlos Riley Jr. following a December 2012 traffic stop. Riley claims Stewart shot himself during a struggle.

Defense attorney Alex Charns used an orange gun as a prop in his closing argument to demonstrate that Riley couldn't have pulled the trigger based on Stewarts account of what happened.

"You can't shoot. You can't cycle," Charns said.

Superior Court Judge James Roberson prohibited Charns from suggesting to jurors that the shooting was a case of self-defense or excessive force, saying there was no evidence of either presented during the trial.

Prosecutors didn't prove Riley's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, Charns said, adding that the state should have shown pictures of Stewart's gunshot wound and called a medical expert to the witness stand.

"They don't even put a surgeon up or an expert about gunshot residue. Where is the lab test on gunshot residue?" said Charns, who put up no defense testimony during the eight-day trial.

Durham County Assistant District Attorney Donya Strong responded by noting that DNA and gunshot residue wouldn't solve a case of he said, he said.

"DNA will not tell you what happened," Strong said. "Gunshot residue is not determinative of who fired a gun."

She pointed out that Riley fled after the shooting and reminded jurors of Stewart's injury.

"This gunshot wound will travel with Officer Stewart for the rest of his life," she said.

Deliberations are expected to resume Thursday morning.

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  • Kristine Denny Aug 12, 2015
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    Okay, first of all this happened in 2012 and there is still no end to this trial? Secondly, if Riley didn't shoot Kelly, then why did he run? I call bs on the defense. The defense is looking for excuses anyway in order to have a mistrial. Also, my husband and I both went to school with Kelly Stewart and he's always been honest and straightforward. I just don't see him making up a story of being shot.