Jury deliberations resumed today in the trial of a parolee accused of fatally stabbing his girlfriend during an argument that ensued after she returned home late to her Moreno Valley apartment.
Brandon Ramsey Wilson, 28, could get 50 years to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder and a sentence-enhancing weapons allegation in the March 27, 2011, slaying of Renisha Leshay Bruins.
Deliberations in the case got under way Wednesday afternoon, but the six-man, six-woman panel did not deliberate on Thursday because of a scheduling issue.
On Friday, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Richard Fields admonished a juror when evidence of possible misconduct came to light. However, the juror was not removed from the panel.
In her closing statement Wednesday, Deputy District Attorney Alma Hernandez described Wilson as a ”cold-blooded murderer” and asked the jury to find him guilty of first-degree murder, not voluntary manslaughter, which is what the defense argued was justified.
“The defense would like you to believe that these were just random stab wounds inflicted on the victim,” Hernandez said. ”But how is it she got stabbed in the back and the neck? The last moments of this girl’s life were violent and painful. She died looking into his eyes. And he didn’t care.”
According to the prosecution, Wilson attacked Bruins after she returned home in the predawn hours of March 27, 2011.
The 27-year-old woman had been partying with several girlfriends at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon and came back to her apartment in the 12000 block of Memorial Way to find the defendant waiting up for her, according
to trial testimony.
An argument followed, during which Wilson pulled a knife and stabbed the victim repeatedly, the prosecution alleges.
The defendant, who had been living at the residence while working one day a week as a parking lot attendant, fled the location and, after consulting his parents, surrendered at the Moreno Valley sheriff’s station, telling deputies he had accidentally killed his girlfriend, witnesses testified.
Deputy Public Defender Judith Gweon presented evidence during the five- day trial that Wilson suffered from a psychological disorder that caused him to act impulsively without realizing the consequences of his actions.
“He is generally non-confrontational, passive and shy,” Gweon told the jury, adding that her client was “provoked” by Bruins, who was the first to go for a knife as the two argued.
“He went off. He overreacted,” Gweon said. “The evidence shows he loved Renisha, tended to her, catered to her. Where is the motive for him to kill her?”
Hernandez blasted the proposition that Wilson was non-violent and suffered from a cognitive dysfunction, noting that he had a prior conviction for robbery and had never experienced anything that would have caused psychological trauma.
“He never even played football so he could claim a brain injury,” the prosecutor said. ”Being impulsive doesn’t give you a pass. You can’t say, “I have a bad temper so I get to kill my girlfriend.” You need to let him know that what he did to this woman was wrong. You can do that by finding him guilty of murder.”