Jurors in Downtown Los Angeles were asked Wednesday to return a guilty verdict in the trial of a convicted drug dealer -- accused of beating to death a Fox Entertainment executive who vanished in 2012.
“He deliberately, viciously, intently, delivered murderous blows,” L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace said of ex-con John Creech during closing arguments.
“This wasn’t a kid’s fight,” Grace said, and reminded jurors the attack was so severe it resulted in part of Smith’s skull being smashed.
The jury was expected to hear the final portion of the prosecution's closing Thursday and begin deliberations after brief instructions from the judge.
Creech testified in his own defense this week at the conclusion of the three-week trial, and told jurors Smith attacked him first during a confrontation that involved Creech’s ex-wife on the night of May 1, 2012.
Later Creech insisted he was trying to, 'preserve evidence,' when he buried Smith's body in a shallow grave in the desert and stashed Smith's car in an untraceable storage unit.
"It was so it wouldn't get disturbed," he said during an examination by Grace.
After temporarily hiding Smith's body and car, Creech said he called several criminal defense lawyers for advice, and claimed they told him not to call police.
"Did your attorneys tell you to bury the body in the Angeles National Forest?", Grace asked.
"No they did not, no sir," Creech said.
Grace told jurors at the beginning of the trial Creech had been stewing for years about an affair between Smith and Creech's wife, and said there was plenty of evidence the killing was a premeditated murder.
Smith's remains were found by hikers in 2014.
In the defense closing attorney Irene Nunez summarized much of Creech's testimony, allegations that Smith had picked the fight, attacked first, and tried to use a hammer-like weapon.
"Even an imperfect man like John has a right, has a lawful and perfect right, to defend himself," she said.
Creech's actions that night were those of a person thrust into a bad situation.
"In this situation killing Gavin was lawful, it may not be a situation we approve of, but that's the law," Nunez said, and asked jurors to return not guilty verdicts.