Self Defense or Anger? Lawyers make closing arguments in road-traffic murder trial

Was it anger that drove a man to shoot and kill a woman at a North Spokane street riot on May 15, 2021? Or was it self defense?

Those were the questions attorneys put to a jury Monday during their closing arguments in the second-degree murder trial of Richard S. Hough.

Hough’s mother was driving her red Volkswagen Jetta with Richard Hough and his brother in it when Erika Kienas and her boyfriend’s white Subaru cut them off on Cozza Drive. The Houghs claimed they were concerned about the Subaru and followed it to report its license plate. The Houghs said the Subaru occupants, which included a third occupant, threw them out of the car and yelled at them.

The two vehicles stopped at the intersection of Francis Avenue and Addison Street, where Hough and Kienas faced each other. Less than 15 seconds later, Hough shot and killed Kienas.

Prosecutors told the jury that Hough, 30, acted out of anger and not fear when he shot and killed Kienas, 33 – escalating the situation.

Assistant District Attorney Dale Nagy agreed that the vehicle Kienas was driving had driven erratically, but that Hough acted unreasonably when confronted with a firearm by Kienas outside the vehicle.

“Guns are legal. Wear them as much as you want. There’s nothing wrong with that,” Nagy said. “But if you do, act responsibly, and before you pull that out, you better have a good reason for it. Not because of road rage. Not because someone freaked out your mother. You’re better off only drawing the weapon when great bodily harm or death is imminent.”

In body camera footage, Hough told police he saw Kienas reach for something inside her bra as he “instinctively” drew his gun and shot her. But Nagy said the shooting wasn’t reasonable given the scenario.

A grill scraper with Kienas’ DNA was found at the crime scene.

“MS. Kienas was the original attacker,” Defense Attorney Annie Wasilewski told jurors. “Mr. Hough told you that he saw Ms. Kienas with a knife and that she threatened to cut him. He felt threatened. This morning he told you, ‘I perceived them as a danger and protected myself.’”

Due to some physical limitations, Wasilewski said that Hough was unable to run away or otherwise defend himself.

Now the jury is deliberating. Self Defense or Anger? Lawyers make closing arguments in road-traffic murder trial

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