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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
The former UNC football player accused of killing a man outside of a Dilworth bar two years ago took the stand in his second degree murder trial Tuesday.
The question the jury has to consider is whether Robert Kingston stumbled into the street or was pushed into the street when he was killed by an oncoming car. Kenan Gay says his only plan that night was to get Kingston off of his girlfriend, and that he pushed Kingston out the door of the bar.
During his testimony for the defense, Kenan Gay watched surveillance video from the night he was in Ed's Tavern. And he pointed to the screen telling jurors this is when he heard Kingston say to his friends, "Watch this."
Then jurors saw Robert Kingston lean in to kiss Liz Wicker Gay. Gay claims he pushed Kingston out the door and Gay never moved passed the cars parked in front of the bar that night. He says he was turning to go back inside the bar when he heard the crash and saw Kingston lying in the street. He says he froze in place until someone grabbed his arm and he ran away.
Gay was emotional off and on throughout his testimony. When asked if he was sorry about what happened that night he said, "very." Gay says he didn't know Kingston was dead until police arrested him. Gay watched dash cam video that night of him crying and praying in the back seat of the police car. He told the jury, he was praying for everyone involved that night. Everyone he said needed prayers. Gay's defense lawyer explains how his client is holding up.
"He's feeling nervous. He's a 25 year old kid who's on trial for 2nd degree murder for something he didn't do. It's natural he'd be nervous," said David Rudolf.
Gay wasn't the only one crying in court. He had a lot of supporters who were also emotional, especially his wife sitting up front, Liz Wicker Gay.
Gay did two demonstrations for the jury. The first he showed how he grabbed Kingston by the shirt with both hands, pushed him out the door while Gay had his head down and released Kingston from his grasp. He then walked for prosecutors the distance in the courtroom he thought was the distance of the bar door to the point where he released Kingston.
Prosecutors focused on how Gay ran from the scene after Kingston was hit and whether Gay is lying about where he was when says he released Kingston. The prosecutor had Gay mark on a photo his location. Prosecutors asked whether he would lie to avoid going to prison. Gay said, "No, sir." He said he pushed Kingston out the door because the door was there. Prosecutors said Gay was at the bar when he heard Kingston say watch this and before Kingston leaned in to kiss Gay's girlfriend. The Assistant District Attorney asked Gay couldn't you have said then she's taken.
On redirect, defense asked Gay if he was raised going to church and to pray. And the last question from prosecutors, were you raised to run from an accident scene.
Jurors were able to see the scene first hand. They left the courthouse after hearing Kenan Gay's testimony about his movements the night Robert Kingston died. They've seen surveillance video and heard witnesses tell them what the bar in Dilworth looks like. Now it was there chance to see it.
Jurors were able to see for themselves how far the door of Ed's Tavern is from the street. And the question that keeps coming up, could Robert Kingston stumble into traffic from the last point Kenan Gay had contact with him. Jurors have heard various versions of what happened that night the bar owner says he saw Gay standing on the curb before Kingston died, a witness says Gay was at the end of the cars parked out front, and Gay says he was in the middle of the cars parked out front.
"Just to see what the distances are what the parking lot looked like. I just think it's important for them to get a feel for it," said Rudolf prior to the trip.
Jurors cannot talk about what they saw until they deliberate.