The prosecution and defense have rested in the trial of Joaquin Balassa, the Tehachapi man accused of brutally beating a gay couple to death in his apartment in 2014. The prosecution portrayed Balassa as a serial liar and homophobe, who beat up Jose Fajardo and Guy Koukal and then tried to hide his crime. They pointed to the conflicting stories he gave to investigators and said he lied on the stand about Fajardo and Koukal sexually assaulting him the night of the murders. Prosecutors told the jury the DNA and medical evidence solely points to him as the killer.

The defense countered that Balassa’s original statement is unreliable because police maced him shortly before he gave it. They also say there is no motive for Balassa to kill his friends on a night they had all been having fun if an assault had not taken place.

The case is now in the hands of the jury.

Kelli Forsch