Defense argues that wrong man fingered in Halo Lounge homicide -
Published Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 11:43 am / Updated at 1:18 am
Defense argues that wrong man fingered in Halo Lounge homicide

It was known as circus night – a bar peppered with, in the words of one attorney, "strippers" bodypainted to look like circus animals.

Little did anyone know what a circus the night would become.

One of the women – bodypainted as a zebra – got into an argument with her boyfriend, Delayno Wright.

Wright wasn't happy with the guys ogling her at the former Halo Lounge near 175th Street and West Center Road. She wasn't happy that he was talking to other women.

They left the bar in a huff, on their way to Wright's car to retrieve the woman's cell phone and car keys.

As they left that Labor Day weekend 2012, Avery Tyler and Ron King – former Bellevue University basketball teammates – were on their way into the bar, said Douglas County prosecutor Brenda Beadle.

King brushed up against Wright's girlfriend. Words were exchanged. A couple of shoves. Maybe even a swing or two.

Prosecutors say King will testify to what he alleges happened next: Tyler went to his car, retrieved a gun, walked back toward Wright, raised the gun and opened fire. Eight times.

Wright began running but couldn't escape. He was hit once in the back and died at a hospital.

Tyler is now on trial for first-degree murder in Wright’s death. The trial is expected to last into next week.

"Delayno Wright didn't have a chance that night," Beadle said. "He had his words. The defendant had a gun."

Tyler's attorney, Douglas County Public Defender Tom Riley, urged jurors not to take prosecutors' word for it.

No one without a vested interest puts Tyler at the scene, Riley said.

Tyler, King, Jelani Johnson and several other Bellevue University teammates had been at the wedding of a friend that night.

King and Johnson spoke to authorities only after they were charged or threatened with charges in the case, Riley said.

Riley acknowledged that King places a gun in Tyler’s hand.

But King "is literally under the gun," Riley said. "He either has to throw (Tyler) under the bus or throw himself under the bus.

"The defendant is not a murderer. He's not the shooter in this case. The correct verdict in this matter is 'not guilty.'"

Prosecutors say King and Johnson will both testify that Tyler asked them to cover for him by telling police he was at the wedding reception or went straight home after it.

They also say Tyler had several text messages on his phone in which he asked his girlfriend where the Halo Lounge was.

Plus, the bullets found at the scene were unusual 5.7 x 28 mm ammunition. Police traced them to an FN Five-seven handgun.

They searched area gun stores and found that Tyler had purchased a gun at Cabela’s on June 26, 2012, about two months before Wright’s shooting.

The gun: an FN Five-seven.

Contact the writer: Todd Cooper    |   402-444-1275

Todd covers courts and legal issues for The World-Herald.

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