GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) - In a surprise move, the defense of Fred Yazdi rested their case without calling the defendant or anyone else to testify.
Attorney Bob Phillips told the jury during opening statements Yazdi would testify during the trial to explain why he shot and killed 23-year-old Enrique Recio in February 2012.
But after the state rested their case on Monday morning, Yazdi’s defense team obviously felt his testimony would be an unnecessary risk.
With the jury not in the courtroom, Yazdi spoke before the court: “Despite my eagerness to testify and let the jury and whole world know what happened, based on your advice (speaking to Phillips), I’m choosing not to testify.”
In criminal trials, a defendant’s decision to testify or not testify must be their own and not their attorney’s choosing.
Yazdi’s wife Lehla, also was expected to testify, but used the right afforded to a defendant’s spouse which allows them not to testify against their husband or wife.
Closing arguments are set to begin to begin Tuesday in Judge Bert Richardson's court.
Though Yazdi did not testify, the jury has heard him say through patrol car video he felt his family was in danger when he fired three shots into Recio as he fled away from Yazdi’s home.
The jury will be asked to carefully weigh the circumstances of Recio’s death with that of the Castle Doctrine and self-defense laws in Texas.
The laws given to the jury during jury selection are as follows:
- A person can use deadly force "when and to the degree" he "reasonably believes" the deadly force is immediately necessary to protect himself or others against unlawful deadly force.
- A homeowner's belief in the "necessity of deadly force" is presumed to be reasonable if the intruder was forcibly attempting to enter his home, car, or business.
- A homeowner is not required to retreat if he is engaged in criminal activity at the time the deadly force is used.”
Yazdi could face up to life in prison if convicted of murder.
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