Closing arguments Tuesday in Granger murder trial - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Closing arguments Tuesday in Granger murder trial

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YAKIMA, Wash. -- Jury deliberations continue in the trial of a man accused of fatally stabbing another man in Granger, more than a year ago.

Nathen Bennett, 20, is accused of stabbing Leonardo Cantu, Jr., 48, several times in the back of the neck, shoulder and arm with a knife.

Bennett is facing second-degree murder charges.

The stabbing took place on November 5, 2010, in the back yard of Cantu's Granger home on W. First  Avenue.

"His intent wasn't to assault Mr. Cantu. It was to get out of there, that's the intent," Defense lawyer Paul Kelley explained to the jury in his closing argument.

Kelley told the jury that Bennett was befriended by Cantu, and was even offered marijuana by him. "He was 19 at the time. Lived in Granger. He lived with his grandma. He wasn't in school. He didn't have a job. He liked to smoke pot," Kelley explained, saying that Bennett was just a kid and that he was scared.

"It was completely unnecessary. It was a violent, intentional attack. He stabbed this man 26 times," Prosecuting attorney David Soukup said.

The defense also argued the stabbing was in self defense, claiming that Cantu attempted to make unwanted, sexual advances toward Bennett.

"He stabbed him to death. On purpose. No by accident. It wasn't something that just happened. He did it on purpose. It resulted in his death," Soukup told the jury, as the prosecution wrapped up their closing argument.

The trial began last week. Superior Court Judge Robert Lawrence-Berrey is presiding.

A verdict is expected to be reached, as early as Wednesday.

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