A jury in Martinez is set to begin deliberations in the trial of a Berkeley man accused of killing a 17-year-old Danville resident in 2009.
Closing arguments were heard Friday in the case of Walter Bell, who is accused of shooting San Ramon Valley High senior Rylan Fuchs outside his parents' home in 2009 during a marijuana deal.
"In Mr. Bell's own words, 'the deal went bad,'" prosecutor Jill Henderson told the jury as she wrapped up her case. Rylan Fuchs died Jan. 20, 2009 on the front porch of his parents' home on El Capitan Drive after being shot in the neck.
Henderson told the jurors they'd have to decide if the case warrants a murder conviction for Bell, who admitted to two people that he fatally shot Fuchs.
Bell's girlfriend told police that Bell admitted that he killed Fuchs, and a friend of Bell's also told police that Bell confessed to him, Henderson said in earlier statements to the jury. Bell allegedly told his friend that he meant to shoot the gun to scare Fuchs, not to kill him.
In closing statements on Friday, Henderson said Bell confessed to friends in order "to mitigate his culpability."
Bell's defense attorney, Deputy Public Defender Kirk Anthanasiou, has characterized the two witnesses as unreliable.
The killing, intentional or not, surrounded a deal for four ounces of marijuana between Fuchs and a former classmate, Aaron Marks, who died late last year in an Oakland shooting.
"I don't know if they got any marijuana," Henderson told the jury. She said a robbery attempt was enough for the jury to consider enhanced penalties for using a firearm in commission of the act.
"Why do you go to a marijuana robbery with a gun? To use force, to use violence," Henderson said. She said the jury had to decide if "the defendant committed an act that caused the death of another and that the defendant had a state of mind called malice aforethought."
Henderson said even if Bell didn't fire the fatal shot, he's still responsible as one of a group of eight young men who hid in bushes, behind a car and near a light pole, waiting to ambush Fuchs.
Fuchs, she said, "was retreating to his house. His door was locked."
"The killer was not on the front porch -- the defendant was on the walkway when he shot Rylan Fuchs in the throat, intending to kill him," Henderson said.
The jury has to decide on whether Bell is guilty of first- or second-degree murder. If it finds grounds for a first degree murder conviction, it will also have to decide on the added penalty for using the gun.
"The gun is kind of a no brainer," Henderson said. "The gun enhancement is only if you determine if (Bell) is the shooter."
With closing arguments for both prosecution and defense wrapping up Friday afternoon, it's likely the jury will return on Monday to continue its deliberations.
If convicted, Bell, now 22, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.