Ricky Kyle's attorneys admitted for the first time Tuesday that their client fired the shot that killed his millionaire father, but they said the shooting occurred after the elder Kyle first fired a shot at his son.
In his opening statement to the Los Angeles Superior Court jury hearing the younger Kyle's murder trial, attorney Michael P. Gibson called the shooting of Henry Harrison Kyle "justifiable homicide."
Prosecutors Lewis Watnick and John Moulin called nearly two dozen witnesses before resting their case Tuesday. They charge that Ricky Kyle, 22, shot his father in the dining room of the elder Kyle's Bel-Air mansion because he feared being cut from the real estate and movie production tycoon's will.
Three witnesses--young Kyle's half-sister, her former fiance and Ricky Kyle's brother-in-law--testified for the prosecution that the younger Kyle had told them he shot his father in the back at close range.
According to those witnesses' accounts, Ricky Kyle roused his father before dawn on July 22 and told him there was an intruder in the house.
After the two, both reportedly armed with handguns, searched unsuccessfully through the house, Henry Kyle went to the dining room on the way back to his upstairs bedroom.
As he turned in the dining room, Ricky Kyle shot him, the witnesses said.
But Gibson told the jury Tuesday that, while the two were in the dining room, "Henry Kyle . . . turned with a .357 magnum and, fully erect and his arm extended, fired in the face and in the direction of Ricky Kyle."
"In the flash and the sound of that bullet that went past his head, he (Ricky) reacted . . . and in the ensuing struggle with his father, discharged his weapon two or three times," Gibson said.