Prosecutor Dave Pomeroy argued today that witness Chad Robinson has changed his story about defendant Harley Finney stabbing him because he was afraid for his safety.
Pomeroy laid out his case against Finney, a 28-year-old Atascadero resident, in his closing argument in the trial. Finney is accused of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a July 20 stabbing in downtown San Luis Obispo.
Defense attorney Raymond Allen's closing statements will be this afternoon at 1 p.m. in Judge John Trice's courtroom.
Pomeroy said that Robinson told police that Finney — whose nickname was "Tank" — had a reputation on the streets. Robinson, a 19-year-old transient, feared he could be hurt, possibly by one of Finney's friends, if he testified in court, Pomeroy said.
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Pomeroy also said Robinson initially wanted police to know that Finney had committed the stabbing, but Robinson also wanted his name kept out of court documents and didn't want to testify.
But police told Robinson that Finney has a constitutional right to face his accuser, and Robinson eventually testified against Finney at an August preliminary hearing. But then he testified last week he didn't know who stabbed him.
Allen said in his opening statements that the case is "muddy" because of the inconsistencies with the witness testimony.
Police found no blood on Finney's clothes or knife in a search of Finney's residence; Pomeroy argues Finney threw away that evidence.
Pomeroy must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is expected to go to jury this afternoon.