Jurors hear closing arguments in trial of father said to have murdered son

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Attorneys made their final push to the jury in the murder trial of William Wright III on Monday.

He is charged with one count of murder for the shooting death of his son, William Wright IV, who went by Billy.

“He showed no regard for Billy’s life when he pointed that loaded firearm at him for no reason,” Deputy District Attorney Liz Owen said.

The killing happened in the summer of 2022 at a home in Northwest Fresno.

The victim was a beloved football coach and mentor at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia. He coached at Reedley College before that.

“He was the type of person you want around,” Billy’s former Reedley College colleague, Dr. Samuel Morgan, said in 2022. “Very positive, a great motivator, and number one, a great example.”

Billy was also a father to two young children, but prosecutors say he and his dad disagreed on how the kids should be raised, and an argument over parenting turned violent.

“He elevated that tussling, which is how Mr. Wright described it several times.

He elevated that tussling to a shooting,” Owen said.

The defendant says he is not guilty of murder. On Monday, his attorney made a passionate closing argument, telling the jury Wright III was not a violent man.

“If he’s a gun-slinging alcoholic drunk, are they still going to stay with him? They were still there,” defense attorney David Balakian said.

The closing arguments came after jurors heard evidence for several days.

Last week, they listened to the recording of the 911 call Wright III placed moments after the shooting. He said his son was not shot on purpose.

“Did he do this to himself?” the operator asked during the call. “No, it was an accident,” Wright III said.

However, the victim’s brother testified that disagreements frequently turned physical with their father and said Wright III often threatened to get his gun.

If the jury finds Wright III guilty of murder, he could face up to life in prison.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.