Murder trial against former UNC football player, law student beg - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Murder trial against former UNC football player, law student begins

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The trial against a former University of North Carolina football player and law student accused of murder has begun after a judge heard motions in the case against Kenan Gay.

Gay is accused of throwing Robert Kingston III, 30, in front of a moving car during a 2012 bar fight. Kingston was killed.

The fight happened in March 2012 in front of Ed's Tavern on Park Road.

Gay, who was 23 at the time, was originally charged with first-degree murder. That charge was later dropped to second degree murder.

After the motions were heard on Tuesday morning, the jury selection process began.

Gay's lawyer told WBTV in 2012 that both men were at the bar when Kingston allegedly 'laid hands' on Gay's girlfriend.

"The fellow was putting his hands on my client's girlfriend," Gay's 2012 attorney Christopher Fialko told WBTV back in 2012. "My client was trying to get her off of him. They were standing at the door. He threw him out the door and in an unlucky way it was right near the road."

The owner at Ed's Tavern told WBTV that video from the incident show Kingston leaned over and talked to a female. Gay then escorts Kingston out of the bar by his collar.

He says the men weren't stopped by employees because they appeared to be friends. But the owner says when they got outside, Gay's demeanor changed and he pushed Kingston into the street.

"He looked just as shocked as us," Ed's Tavern Alan Cole told WBTV. "He looked just as surprised - no satisfaction on his face."

On Tuesday, Gay's lawyer David Rudolf says what happened that night was purely an accident.

"Surely Mister Kingston's physical intoxication contributed to that, but I think the evidence will come out in court and you'll all hear what happened and it wasnt second degree murder for sure," Rudolf told WBTV.

The owner said after the accident, he grabbed Gay and told him not to go anywhere, but Gay ran away. The owner chased him, but couldn't catch him. Soon after, police caught Gay.

Gay was a walk-on wide receiver for the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill football team and graduated in 2010, athletic officials say, but never played in a single game.

At the time of the incident, Gay was a student at the Charlotte School of Law where he is was second year student and member of the student Senate.

"He's working and he hasnt been able to take the bar because of these charges," Rudolph said. "He's been productive, he's gotten married to Elizabeth and they are doing as well as anyone could do under the circumstances."

After the jury selection process is complete, lawyers say the trial could be about two weeks long.

Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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