Erie Homicide Defendant Claims Self-Defense at Trial
The Erie man charged with killing another man outside of an Erie bar is claiming he fired a gun in self-defense.
Grover Lyons, 26, is on trial for the shooting death of 28-year-old Darrin Germany.
The fatal shooting happened on the early morning of December 31, 2016, outside of Bogey's Tavern on Buffalo Road.
During opening statements, Lyons’ lawyer James Pitonyak said Lyons was justified in using lethal force.
"When Mr. Lyons shot a gun that night, he was acting in self-defense." said Pitonyak.
Both Pitonyak and Erie County District Attorney Jack Daneri didn’t dispute that a shootout occurred that night.
In his opening statements, Daneri said that Lyons actions and the evidence against him will prove that he is guilty of murder.
"It's not a whodunit," said Daneri. "The defendant killed Darrin Germany."
On Tuesday, testimony centered on surveillance video from inside and outside of Bogey's Tavern, which captured the moments before and after the shooting.
The video shows two men--identified by prosecutors as Lyons and Germany--get into a physical altercation inside of the bar.
Pitonyak says a third man seen in the video, identified as Darrell Johnson, was also involved in the fight.
Once outside, both Daneri and Pitonyak agreed that a shootout occurred.
Germany died from a single gunshot wound to the chest. Johnson was shot in the leg.
Pitonyak argues that Germany was the aggressor and opened fire on Lyons first.
"Mr. Lyons had a right to defend himself that night and to defend Mr. Johnson." said Pitonyak.
Meantime, Daneri said that Lyons avoided police after the shooting, but was eventually arrested inside of a basement crawl space in Detroit.
The gun that killed Germany was never recovered.
"The defendant shot Darrin Germany with a gun he wasn't licensed to have, a gun that's never been recovered," said Daneri. "Then, the defendant went into hiding."
Lyons originally pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in connection to Germany's death, last October.
However, he withdrew his guilty plea and was ordered to stand trial for criminal homicide.
The trial continues Wednesday morning, in front of Judge John J. Mead.