Edward Paredes was "careless, reckless, negligent and above all, stupid" when he fired his handgun outside a Yonge Street strip club, but he did not intend to kill anyone, his lawyer told a jury.
Nonetheless, that jury had for weeks been acutely aware that Mr. Paredes did kill someone: John O'Keefe, a 42-year-old father walking along the sidewalk, who had no part in the dispute between Mr. Paredes and the bouncers who had just ejected him and his best friend, Awet Zekarias, from the Brass Rail tavern.
For that, lawyer Robert Tomovski said, Mr. Paredes is guilty of manslaughter but not murder, as the Crown claims was on his mind when he fired the shot, at Mr. Zekarias's persistent urging.
Mr. Paredes, 24, and Mr. Zekarias, 25, are charged with second-degree murder and nearing the end of their trial. Their lawyers gave closing statements Thursday.
Court has heard the men went with a group of friends to the Brass Rail to celebrate Mr. Zekarias's birthday, but the pair were ejected for misbehaviour. The Crown claims Mr. Zekarias repeatedly urged Mr. Paredes, once outside, to shoot the bouncers, and that when he did, the bouncers jumped clear and he hit Mr. O'Keefe instead.
Mr. Tomovski pointed jurors to Mr. Paredes's testimony in which he said he only intended to scare the bouncers by deliberately firing to the left of where they had been standing outside the club entrance. The gunman, an experienced shooter who legally owned his pistol but illegally took it out with him that night, said he did not see Mr. O'Keefe when he pulled the trigger.
But, even if he had meant to kill a Brass Rail bouncer, the lawyer said, Mr. Paredes had been so provoked and "pissed off" by the bouncer's insults and rough treatment that he fired in the heat of passion, without the self-control necessary for murderous intent. That too would render the crime as manslaughter, to which Mr. Paredes has offered to plead guilty.
"The death of Mr. O'Keefe is truly an unspeakable tragedy," Mr. Tomovski said. "Mr. Paredes cannot undo what's already been done; he isn't seeking sympathy or pity," but to take responsibility for his mistakes, he said.
Howard Goldkind, representing Mr. Zekarias, characterized the shooting as a beef between Mr. Paredes and Brass Rail staff, and while his client was also angry and profane with bouncers, he "didn't say anything urging Mr. Paredes to pull out the gun and shoot at that time" that the trigger was pulled.
"Awet Zekarias didn't say he wanted to kill anyone," Mr. Goldkind said. "We have an unbelievably sad convergence of events."
The Crown will give closing statements Friday.