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Jury hears closing arguments in Julian Hernandez trial

Julian Hernandez listens to the prosecution's closing argument against him Wednesday, April 4, 2018, in Kern County court in Bakersfield, Calif. Hernandez is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Officer David Nelson, which occurred from a crash while Nelson pursued Hernandez. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Attorneys delivered closing arguments Wednesday in the case of Julian Hernandez, the man accused of second-degree murder in the death of Bakersfield Police Officer David Nelson.

Nelson wrecked his patrol car in June 2015 while chasing Hernandez through northeast Bakersfield in the middle of the night.

The district attorney says Hernandez admitted both out loud and in writing that he was the driver that fled from Nelson.

Prosecutor Jim Simson said that Hernandez knew that fleeing in the manner that he is reported to have was dangerous and did it anyway.

Simson said Hernandez went out in the middle of the night with a loaded gun after removing the license plates from the vehicle he was driving. The California Highway Patrol determined that he reached speeds more than 100 mph during the chase.

"He was getting ready to unleash hell," Simson said of Hernandez, noting that the consequences of his actions "couldn't have been more foreseeable."

The criminal trial was delayed for a long time because the first four defense attorneys representing Hernandez bowed out, citing conflicts of interest.

The fifth one, Ronald Carter, argued Wednesday that Hernandez couldn't have predicted what would happen to Nelson as the prosecution implied.

"It is not inherently dangerous to evade the police," he said.

Carter advised the jury to stick to the actual charges, noting that even if Hernandez had less-than-noble intentions when he went out that night with a gun, his running wasn't intended to kill Nelson.

In his rebuttal, a clearly irritated Simson argued Hernandez isn't on trial for murder because he tried to run from the law. He's on trial for murder because he reportedly did so while driving 102 mph through residential neighborhoods.

The jury, comprised of 8 men and 4 women, deliberated for about an hour Wednesday afternoon before being released for the day. For updates on their decision, follow @KyleHarveyOnTV on Twitter.



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