LAX COURTHOUSE — A Santa Monica man was convicted of second degree murder last week in the 2012 killing of his friend.
Ryan Bright, 28, stabbed his friend Jensen Gray to death at a party in the 400 block of Broadway in Downtown Santa Monica. Gray, of Laguna Beach, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was 27 years old at the time.
Bright will be sentenced in February, according to a release from the Santa Monica Police Department. He faces 15 years to life in prison for the killing, the release said.
“According to witnesses, Bright stabbed Gray after he tried to intervene in an argument between him and another woman at the location,” SMPD officials said in the release. “Witnesses told investigators alcohol was a likely contributor in the incident.”
Witnesses and SMPD officers testified in the two week-long trial. Forensic evidence was also presented in the trial, linking Bright to the killing.
Bright’s attorney argued that the he’d acted out of self-defense, claiming that Bright had sustained a stab wound as well.
He said that Bright and Gray were best friends and that they were both drunk at the time.
The attorney questioned the credibility of the prosecution’s witness and argued that the conviction should have been, at worst, manslaughter.
Jurors announced the second degree murder conviction on Dec. 22 after deliberating for several days.
Santa Monica police responded to a stabbing call at 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.
Witnesses told SMPD officers that Bright killed Gray.
Gray was stabbed four times — three times in the front and once in the back — according to Bright’s attorney.
They searched the area and found Bright and the knife.
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.
Bright has been in custody since the killing more than two years ago.