TEMPE, Ariz. - A man has been convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of a Tempe firefighter in 2018.
The victim in the shooting was Marine veteran and Tempe Fire Cpt. Kyle Brayer, 34, who was off duty that night.
The man who shot and killed Brayer, 22-year-old Hezron Parks, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. He claimed he shot Brayer in self-defense.
After days of deliberation, the jury found Parks guilty of the charges of second-degree murder, seven counts of endangerment, assault, leaving the scene and four counts of disorderly conduct.
Parks will be sentenced Aug. 30, court officials said.
The following is a timeline of events leading up to the verdict.
Feb. 3, 2018: The shooting
Hezron Parks wasn't having a good night late Saturday and into the early morning hours of Sunday, detectives said at the time. According to reports, Parks had an altercation with security staff at a nightclub in Old Town, then was denied entry into another club.
Reports say he lost his cell phone and then he decided to drive home.
Kyle Brayer was riding on a golf cart in Old Town Scottsdale with friends early Sunday morning when a car driven by Parks, 21 at the time, began aggressively following the cart and at times getting so close it nearly hit the cart, according to police reports.
The police report states Brayer got off the cart and attempted to approach the driver's side window of the car and Parks told police he felt threatened and pulled out his gun from the center console.
That's when Parks fired the gun, striking Brayer in the head. Brayer was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The suspect, Parks, fled the scene, but later called 911 to turn himself in.
Monday morning, just after 5 a.m., Hezron Parks appeared in front of a judge after the Maricopa County Attorney's Office filed second-degree murder charges against Parks.
According to court paperwork, Parks told police Brayer and a friend were yelling unknown things at him from the back of the golf cart while he was driving behind it the night of the shooting.
He said Brayer kicked his car then approached him with his hands up in the air. Parks said he felt threatened and reached for his gun, eventually firing it, when Brayer put his hands down and moved forward toward him.
Parks told investigators he didn't know there was a round in the gun's chamber because he didn't normally keep one there, according to the documents. Parks admitted to driving away from the scene and damaging other vehicles on the way.
His preliminary hearing would be set for 10 days later.
Brayer's funeral would take place days later.
More than a year later, Parks' murder trial began on June 10 with prosecutors claiming Parks killed Brayer during a heated argument. The defense would argue Brayer became physically aggressive and that Parks fired his gun in self-defense.
The defense would argue that Brayer and his friends were drunk and belligerent and looking for a fight and the prosecution would argue Parks was drunk that night after getting into an altercation at one club and being denied another. Parks didn't have alcohol in his blood, but the prosecution would argue that's because his blood wasn't tested until more than 12 hours after the incident.
On day two of the trial, the defense and prosecution continued with the first witness, a woman on the golf cart with Brayer that night, Linsey Kornblau. Kornblau told the court that Brayer's friends and family harassed her into testifying, to the point where she had to block their numbers.
Thanks to a subpoena, she had no choice and the state flew her in from New York for her testimony.
Kornblau testified that she could not recall much of the night because she was drunk and high on cocaine.
On Tuesday, the court played audio from the night of Brayer’s death of the witness talking to detectives about what happened.
In the audio, she told detectives she and her friends met several firefighters at a golf tournament and ended up going out with them to Old Town Scottsdale.
After a night of drinking, they rode on a golf cart back to where they were parked, at which point she says an African-American man was tailing them and driving aggressively in a red car.
The defense team focused on the fact that she was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine that night, questioning her recollection of the events.
Kornblau was seen laughing while on the stand in the courtroom while listening to her interview with investigators that night. The defense says, "Can you explain to the jurors why that was funny? Because obviously there's nothing funny about the topic here."
Kornblau says she was laughing out of embarrassment, not because it was humorous.
First responders and other witnesses in the golf cart would go on to take stand in the trial.
Hezron Parks testifies
Parks took the stand in his own defense where he said he never bumped the golf cart and claims Brayer was the aggressor, kicking his hood and going up to his open window. Parks said Brayer's head was basically through his window when he shot.
Parks admits to firing a gun in Brayer's direction but says he felt like he was being attacked and shot in self-defense. He claims he fired without looking and drove away without knowing if anyone was shot.
Friends of Brayer and the state argue that Parks instigated the fight and that Parks had no reason to fire a gun.
Kornblau testified the Scion was messing with them on the golf cart and that Brayer never got closer to the driver than the window. Witness Zachary Kwiatkowski said Brayer was 3-5 feet from the window when he was shot. Another witness Steve Kovach said Brayer was not aggressive.
Jury reaches verdict
The defense and prosecution delivered their closing arguments over three days before the jury began its deliberation to decide whether Parks is guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter.
The jury reached its verdict on Wednesday, convicting Parks of second-degree murder. The sentencing will be determined by the judge.