Jury's Verdict for Dunn: Second-degree murder

2012-11-09T06:00:00Z 2012-11-09T08:24:43Z Jury's Verdict for Dunn: Second-degree murderBy DYLAN WOOLF HARRIS — dharris@elkodaily.com Elko Daily Free Press

ELKO — As the verdict was read, Patrick Dunn stood straight facing the jury that found him guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting of Erik Espitia.

Dunn shot Espitia in the chest following an eight-person melee at about 3 a.m. May 27 in the downtown corridor.

He was charged with open murder with the use of a deadly weapon — which includes first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter all in the alternative. He was also charged and found guilty of attempted willful destruction or concealment of evidence for hiding the handgun under a tree near his home.

Nearly 24 hours after the jury entered deliberation, the 23-year-old defendant was called back into court to hear its decision.

Members of Erik Espitia’s family quietly filed out of the courtroom shortly after the verdict was read.

“It does give some closure,” Esther Espitia, sister of Erik Espitia and a witness in the trial, said before leaving.

Prior to summoning the jury, District Judge Al Kacin told family members, friends and all present in the courtroom, which included more than a dozen law enforcement officers, that he understood any verdict could potentially illicit an emotional response. But in deference to the jury, Kacin said, he wouldn’t tolerate any outbursts.

All present remained quiet during the proceeding.

Jury selection for the trial began Oct. 30, with opening arguments and testimony commencing the following day.

During the trial, District Attorney Mark Torvinen argued that the fight had essentially ended by the time Dunn fired his gun. He also argued Dunn shot Espitia because he was drunk and angry.

Defense attorney John Ohlson, who wasn’t present in court when the verdict was read, argued Dunn was acting in self-defense. Dunn was not the aggressor in the fight, he said, and was being attacked when he shot Erik Espitia. Dunn feared for his life and the life of his friends, Ohlson said.

As a result of the fight, Brandon Evans, one of Dunn’s friends, was care-flighted to Salt Lake City for treatment. He suffered bone fractures at the base of his skull and a vertebra, among other injuries.

Sentencing was scheduled for 9 a.m.Jan. 25.

The court is limited in its discretion when sentencing a person convicted of second-degree murder. By statute, Dunn will either be sentenced to life in prison or 25 years in prison. In either case, he will be eligible for parole after 10 years. Probation is not an option.

In addition, a “deadly weapon” enhancement is attached to Dunn’s second-degree murder charge, which adds a consecutive sentence of one to 20 years.

In the jail courtroom, Kacin also heard a motion by the defense to grant bail.

Torvinen asked Kacin to consider the possibility of flight for one facing a lengthy prison sentence.

“Human nature is such that someone would have to seriously consider the alternative (to returning to court), and I’m talking about fleeing,” Torvinen said.

If bail were to be issued, Torvinen argued, it needed to be high enough to dissuade Dunn from running.

“In a case like this, where there is a potential life sentence ... I’m suggesting to you that it has to be well over $100,000,” Torvinen said.

Ohlson, who attended the motion hearing telephonically, said bail should not be set to an amount that ostensibly makes it impossible for Dunn to post.

Kacin told the defense he would review the case file and issue an order soon.

In September, Kacin heard a similar motion for Dunn in which the DA asked for no bail lower than $250,000 and the defense asked for $10,000 bail.

On that motion, Kacin denied granting any bail.

Copyright 2016 Elko Daily Free Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(30) Comments

  1. Elkogurl
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    Elkogurl - November 13, 2012 3:20 am
    Dunns shirt was covered in blood because as Eriks brother in law testified, he was fighting with Dunn and gave him a bloody nose, Stop fabricating this story in Dunns favor. The jury heard the facts. And as much spin as Dunns defense put on his self-defense theory it became quite clear that Eriks death was murder.
  2. Elkogurl
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    Elkogurl - November 12, 2012 4:32 pm
    Dunn lost a fight and in a drunking rage murdered an unarmed man.
    Dunn and his attorneys abused the self defense theory. Justice was handed down with a guilty verdict.
  3. Elkogurl
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    Elkogurl - November 12, 2012 4:28 pm
    Amen to that, Cowpokin!
  4. Elkogurl
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    Elkogurl - November 12, 2012 4:26 pm
    Angela Evans testified she thought her husband was in the car with Pat Dunn when he fled the crime seen. How did she not know where he was?
    It makes me sick to see how this has been twisted as a self defense theory. As you said, you don't shoot an unarmed man. I also stand by the court.
    Report Abuse
    COWPOKIN - November 12, 2012 2:56 pm
    I hope you realize that what Pat Dunn did was wrong. I hope you raise your sons to have better values than both of these parties who were involve in the fight. You don't bring a gun to a fist fight. You also don't take a persons life because you are afraid of losing a fight. What happened to honor and dignity?
    Report Abuse
    COWPOKIN - November 12, 2012 2:49 pm
    Nice thought but completely fictional. Pat did not know the condition of his friends and he confesses that in the police reports (So no Pat was not aware of Brandon's state and the murder was not provoked by Brandon's state either). He did not consider his friends (which is why he left them in the parking lot with the same people who they were fighting against, as he went to hide the evidence). Pat knows he was in the wrong, He shot and killed an unarmed man. Pat's not a hero, he's a coward.
    Report Abuse
    COWPOKIN - November 12, 2012 2:41 pm
    Pat didn't know what was going on at the time. He said so himself in police statements. He wasn't considering his friends (hence the reason he left said friends with the people he was fighting against when he went to hide the evidence). He did not act in self defense. Don't make him out to be a hero. He just wanted an easy way out of the conflict. He shot and killed an unarmed man. He was found guilty of second degree murder in court. As an Elko resident, I stand by the court.
    Report Abuse
    COWPOKIN - November 12, 2012 2:35 pm
    What are you rambling about?
    Report Abuse
    COWPOKIN - November 12, 2012 2:34 pm
    joseq8526 You are right. I don't understand how people can chose to look past these facts that are slapping them across the face
    Report Abuse
    COWPOKIN - November 12, 2012 2:29 pm
    I hope Pat realizes that what he did was wrong.
    Report Abuse
    COWPOKIN - November 12, 2012 2:28 pm
    You don't kill someone because you are losing a fight. What happened to honor?
  12. caxcan
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    caxcan - November 10, 2012 10:09 pm
    This is a bad thing for both families, but Erik got the worse hand out of the deal, justice got served, we all pay for our mistakes, Erik paid for his, and Mr. Dunn is paying now, and as all of you IGNORANTES please stop writing garbage, sooner or later we all get what we deserve, a human been got killed not an animal, Mr Dunn knew what he did, thats why he is behind bars. Erik was not a saint and Mr Dunn wasn't either.

  13. XEPEBU
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    XEPEBU - November 10, 2012 8:39 am
    If I were you or Brandon's dad id be inraged of the jury that put pat away but thankfull Brandon is alive. If brandon was my son I'm not sure I could keep my cool with our ignorant Justice system in this town. And would take matters in my own. The kid is blind in one eye and probably going to have bad arthritis in his neck. Ive known pat a long time not a mean bone in his body. I hope you and you family do your part and try to get this thing appealed with pats family. Its a load of BS!!!
  14. Michael Hunton
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    Michael Hunton - November 10, 2012 6:14 am
    Eirk's family, isn't it a shame he wasn't thinking of them. Was anybody during this fight thinking about his or her family's. Next time the tough guys show up, leave, that is thinking of your family. Why? Hum, broken neck, jaw, hospital bills, caskets, attorney fees, trials, being crippled, reputations destroyed. Too bad we all can't just can't get along, but when those who can't show up, I guess, if your thinking of your FAMILY, just leave. Running is not a bad idea either.
  15. dhw
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    dhw - November 10, 2012 5:07 am
    I can't thank Pat enough for saving my nephews life. I am very sorry things happened the way it did.
  16. Elkogurl
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    Elkogurl - November 09, 2012 4:00 pm
    Thank you for that response. Hopefully some of these people will understand.
  17. Elkogurl
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    Elkogurl - November 09, 2012 3:59 pm
    Did you just comment a racial slur to that person? YOU are out of line. You disgust me.
  18. joseq8526
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    joseq8526 - November 09, 2012 2:46 pm
    My name says it all lol. Your reply so typical i've heard that so much it's comical and just to show that there is that racial tension because of people like yourself its sad.All color aside what was done was wrong. I don't need you to reply.
  19. MountainMan
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    MountainMan - November 09, 2012 2:13 pm
    This isn't about whose family is more sad. This is about true justice being served. And true justice this verdict surely is not.
  20. MountainMan
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    MountainMan - November 09, 2012 1:55 pm
    The jury on this trial should be ashamed of themselves. How can you possibly render a judgement "beyond a reasonable doubt" based on the testimonial of people who were intoxicated and confused at the time of incident? The facts of the matter are these: being confused, no one really knows who started the fight. Pat's friend, Brandon Evans, lost sight in one eye and sustained a broken neck as a result of the beating.
    He has no memory of the event. Nevada's self-defense law states that it is legal to kill in the instance that "...danger was so urgent and pressing that, in order to save the person’s own life, or to prevent the person from receiving great bodily harm, the killing of the other was absolutely necessary."

    Did Brandon experience great bodily harm? Yes. Could he have died as a result of this harm? Absolutely. Was Pat afraid that he himself might sustain similar injuries? Of course.

    Pat Dunn witnessed the beating of his friend to within inches of his life. Pat's shirt was covered in his own blood from being beaten moments earlier. Pat feared that he might experience a fate similar to his friend's. Pat took action, not only to save his own life, but to save the life of his friend.

    This jury has made a terrible mistake, and the decision should be appealed immediately.
  21. mmfamily
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    mmfamily - November 09, 2012 1:01 pm
    You should do the same. What if it was your family member in the fight and was shot, how would you feel then??? It's sad for every family involved, not just Pat's.
  22. mmfamily
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    mmfamily - November 09, 2012 12:59 pm
    What does his name say? Again another classic act of stupidity. Being rude isn't helping anyone in this case. All it does is bring out more hate and more problems, shouldn't it end already???
  23. mmfamily
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    mmfamily - November 09, 2012 12:58 pm
    I read the comments on here and I am just in shock at how people are so rude, racist and just dumb. We have people, who clearly should have been cut off before they got as drunk as they were, but they weren't cut off. People do stupid things, but add alcohol into the mix and they are all STUPID!!! Patrick knew he had done wrong, or he wouldn't have hid the gun. It's sad for both families, but the kids suffer more. Writing things to be hurtful isn't going to help anyone, just stop already.
  24. bcc1954
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    bcc1954 - November 09, 2012 12:57 pm
    So sad...where is the justice of arresting the rest for their part in the fight???? Somebody ALMOST killed his friend...how did he know he wouldn't be next? And...nobody tells the same story..so...what really happened? We know there was a fight...but only ONE got arrested?
  25. veritas
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    veritas - November 09, 2012 9:37 am
    It is my understanding that the prior acts of the victim cannot (and should not) be introduced and only the facts pertaining to the incident are to be considered. The jury did their duty based on the facts that were presented to them and should not be be subjected insulting comments.
  26. aliciajo27
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    aliciajo27 - November 09, 2012 9:34 am
    This is absolutely unfair. Were Dunn and his friends just supposed to take the beating until maybe one of them died?? You are able to defend yourself and this is exactly what Dunn did. Set him free.
  27. joseq8526
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    joseq8526 - November 09, 2012 9:32 am
    What about Erik's family he's gone and his kids will never see him again, Pat is alive and his family can still talk to him and hold him but,erik'sfamily will not.
  28. joseq8526
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    joseq8526 - November 09, 2012 9:28 am
    If it was self defence he wouldn't have ran and try to hid the gun he would of held everyone at bay with his gun and called police. I also feel your comment is rude and not right we all are a community and need to act like and start making changes. To prevent things like this from happening
  29. isitjustme
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    isitjustme - November 09, 2012 7:47 am
    I agree. This is a terrible verdict. The Espitia's had been accosting people for quite awhile in that part of town. When you do bad things...bad things come back. I believe this to be self defense! Shame on this jury for adding to the hurt.
  30. mlewallen93
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    mlewallen93 - November 09, 2012 7:15 am
    My heart breaks for Pat and his family. I am absolutely ashamed that this jury came back with this verdict, and they ought to be ashamed as well. I wonder if each and every one of the jurors were to just imagine themselves in that exact situation, what would they have done? You should always at least try the shoe on the other foot!! WHAT A SHAME!!!
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