Wirkkala takes stand, continues defense during re-trial

Luke Wirkkala was back on the stand Tuesday in his re-trial for the 2013 murder of a friend.

Prosecutors questioned him extensively about his claim that he shot David Ryder in self defense after an attempted sexual assault.

He described passing out after a night of heavy drinking and waking up to find Ryder on top of him, trying to pull off his clothes.

Wirkkala told the jury he went to his bedroom for a shotgun, then confronted Ryder in the living room. 

“It was just like an instinctual, automatic reaction,” Wirkkala said Tuesday. “It’s not something I planned or thought about. It was just my response in self-defense, in that split second.”

The prosecutor questioned Wirkkala’s actions, including grabbing the shotgun and confronting Ryder after safely retreating to the bedroom.

He said he feared for the safety of other asleep in the house, but admitted he did not call out to wake or warn them.

The trial is expected to continue several more weeks.

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