LAX COURTHOUSE — A jury is hearing the case of a man who allegedly killed his best friend and roommate in a Downtown apartment in 2012.

Ryan Bright stabbed Jensen Gray to death at a party in the 400 block of Broadway, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney. Police found Gray dead when the arrived at the scene. He was 27 years old.

Bright, 28, is charged with his murder. Bright’s attorney, Andrew Flier, is arguing that the stabbing occurred out of self-defense and that, “at worst, it should be manslaughter.”

“They were best friends,” he said. “They were both alcoholics. They fight sometimes amongst each other.”

Flier intends to prove that the men were very drunk at the time.

“They were both drinking a lot of rum,” he said.

He claims that Bright was trying to defend himself at the time of the killing.

“The victim was stabbed four times,” Flier said. “Three times in the front area and one time in the back. But my guy was stabbed. So, I think it clearly could be a self-defense. But even if the jury thinks that maybe my client went overboard, I still think there’s no way that’s intent to kill. I don’t want to minimize it. It just mitigates it. That’s what the law says.”

The prosecution has a witness who could refute some of Flier’s claims, he said, but Flier questions her credibility.

“I believe she has a drug history, an alcohol history, she’s lied to the police before,” he said. “I mean, she’s not the most credible person. I think that’s what this case is really going to come down to.”

Bright has been in custody for more than two years, Flier said.

“I told that to the jury,” he said. “He’s learned his lesson. At the worst this should be a manslaughter. He’s been punished enough.”

The District Attorney’s office provided a summary of the case but did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Santa Monica police responded to the scene at 3:25 a.m. on a Wednesday in July of 2012, according to Daily Press archives. Officers heard a female screaming and found Gray on the living room floor of an apartment with multiple stab wounds.

Everyone at the party knew each other, police told the Daily Press at the time.

The killing occurred at the Archstone apartments on the corner of Broadway and Fourth Street.

The Archstone was built in 1931 as the Lido Hotel and was deemed a historical landmark in 2001 by the City Council for its use of Art Deco architecture and storied past, according to Daily Press archives.

“My argument is that my client, whether he did it or not, did not have the specific intent to kill his best friend that day,” Flier said.

The trial began on Monday at the Airport Courthouse and is expected to last a week or two.

 

dave@www.smdp.com

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