At 2:30 p.m. Friday Stanislaus County Deputy District Attorney Wendell Emerson delivered the unwelcome news to the family and friends of Kenneth Winter that a conviction of second-degree murder for the defendant Michael Hoyt was looking less and less likely and a hung jury was a very real possibility.
At one end of the courtroom hallway stood the friends and family of Kenneth Winter. At the other end was Michael Hoyt surrounded by his loved ones. And nestled in between in a small room were seven women and five men tasked with determining justice.
In an effort to disprove the murder charge looming over him, Michael Hoyt took the stand Tuesday to tell the jury his recollection of the altercation on a rural Turlock road on Feb. 1, 2010, that ultimately ended in the death of Kenneth Winter.
After more than a week's worth of testimony that sought to lay out point by point the evidence that led investigators to arrest Michael Hoyt for murder in the death of Kenneth Winter and discredit the defense's theories, the prosecution brought their case to a close Friday.
The murder trial for the Turlock man accused of beating a man to death over a traffic incident continued Tuesday with a series of law enforcement witnesses testifying to the forensic evidence collected during the investigation.