The first-degree murder case against a man accused of killing a West Valley woman during a video store robbery last April was in the hands of a 12-member jury Wednesday.
During closing arguments Wednesday morning, prosecutor Tom Vuyk told the jury that Charles Kenneth McCovey, 44, acted intentionally the night of April 22 when he shot Anna Holmes, 31, during a robbery at Video Voyager in Kearns."He says it was accident. Ladies and gentlemen, that was no accident. . . . If it was an accident, why didn't he treat it like one? He didn't say `Oh my God, what have I done? Let me help the victim.' What did he do? He grabbed the money, ordered everyone to get down on the floor, then he fled," Vuyk said.
Defense Attorney Andrew Valdez, however, argued that the shooting was not intentional and that McCovey should therefore be found guilty of second-degree murder, which doesn't carry the death penalty.
Both sides rested Tuesday afternoon following a brief rebuttal by prosecutors. In that rebuttal, a psychiatrist testified that McCovey suffers from an anti-social personality disorder and showed little remorse for the death.
The psychiatrist, Louis Moench, came to those conclusions after a 21/2-hour interview with the defendant last September.
Under cross-examination by McCovey's attorney, however, Moench admitted that the defendant showed some concern for the victim's family and indicated he would accept the death penalty as long as his actions were ruled an accident.
Prosecutors say McCovey, also known as Charles Kenneth Hodges, intentionally shot Holmes during a robbery at Video Voyager in Kearns.
But McCovey says he went to rob the store for money to buy drugs and that he never intended to kill anyone. He says the gun, which was cocked and placed behind Holmes' head, discharged when McCovey was startled by the movements of another customer.
McCovey, who took the witness stand Friday, resumed his testimony Tuesday under cross-examination. Prosecutor Ernie Jones attempted to get him to admit that the drugs and alcohol were not impairing his abilities the night of the shooting.> "I'm saying that my mental abilities were affected, not my physical abilities," McCovey said.> "And pulling a trigger is a physical ability, isn't that right?" asked the prosecutor.
"I accidentally pulled that trigger, Mr. Jones."
McCovey, who fought back tears when discussing the shooting, said he takes full responsibility for what happened, but he denied having any intent to kill.
Jones got McCovey to admit that it was no accident that he planned the robbery, that he took the loaded gun with him and that he told everyone to get on the floor following the shooting. > But McCovey denied saying, "That'll take care of her," a statement Holmes' daughter, Brandy, 12, testified she heard McCovey say.> Following McCovey's testimony, defense attorneys admitted into evidence a taped interview McCovey made to police following his arrest. McCovey, during that interview, broke down and cried when describing the shooting.
"It freaked . . . the (gun) just went off. I'm not saying I didn't pull the trigger. All's I'm saying is the (gun) went off . . . "> McCovey told the officers that he didn't realize that Holmes was pregnant until after he heard about it on the TV news.> The fact the victim was pregnant weighed heavily on McCovey's mind, according to witness John Wenner-gren, of the Legal Defenders Association, who interviewed McCovey a few days after the shooting.