Jury gets case in trial over alleged assault of Grover Beach police

A jury should not believe the words of a Grover Beach man accused of instigating a fight with police in October because he was high on methamphetamines, a prosecutor said in closing arguments Tuesday.

But inconsistencies in the Grover Beach Police Department’s version of events, including where Randal Corvey was in his backyard when officers say he charged at them, point to reasonable doubt, Corvey’s lawyer said.

Corvey’s case is now in the hands of the jury, which began deliberating about 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Corvey, 50, is accused of assaulting two city police officers, trying to take a firearm of an officer, being under the influence of controlled substances and illegal possession of fighting stars, which are sharp hand-held blades shaped like a star.

Thomas McCormick, Corvey’s lawyer, conceded that his client had used meth, which Corvey admitted to investigators after his arrest.

McCormick argued that the officers’ testimony had inconsistencies, including the location of the fight in the backyard, and that could mean the officers came at Corvey and struck him.

According to police, Corvey charged at Officer Mike Hollis, who was standing near a gate where he and Officer Stephen Ball had entered the backyard.

But some witness testimony and physical evidence places the fight closer to Corvey’s home, where he may have been when police arrived, McCormick said.

Corvey’s lawyer also argued that his client didn’t try to take the gun away from Hollis as alleged; he pushed it away from his head to avoid being shot.

“If there are two possible and reasonable choices to explain what happened, you must acquit,” McCormick said.

But prosecutor Matt Kraut argued that Corvey was acting in a bizarre manner while high on meth, and his behavior concerned neighbors, one of whom called police.

He had a holster strapped to his waist and appeared to police to be making a bomb from a glass filled with gas, Kraut said.

Kraut urged jurors to view Hollis and Ball as heroes for protecting the community from a dangerous situation, which led to a violent fight and a shot being fired at Corvey — which grazed his skull.

Kraut said that the assault charge only requires proving the potential for force likely to produce great bodily injury.

“The defendant caused this mess by deciding to get high on drugs,” Kraut said.

The jury is scheduled to continue its deliberations this morning in Judge Barry LaBarbera’s courtroom.