Was Cort Holbrook of Livermore overcome by road rage or acting in self-defense when he fatally stabbed Ricky Ziesmer of Fremont in a fight that occurred in a parking lot in downtown Livermore on the afternoon of March 9, 2011?
That question has been placed before a jury in a trial that started Wednesday in the Hayward courtroom of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy.
Deputy District Attorney Brian Owens told jurors that Holbrook, a software engineer and father of two, was angered after having been beaten in a fist fight and stabbed Ziesmer with a double-edged knife.
"This was revenge for losing a fight," Owens said in court, according to a Mercury News report.
In the same article Holbrook's defense attorney, Timothy Rien, painted Ziesmer as a drug abuser and aggressor. "This is a bad apple. This is your worst nightmare," Rien told jurors according to the Mercury report.
Now it will be up to the seven men and five women in the jury to weigh the evidence in a tragic altercation that began about 1:30 pm on Wednesday, March 9th, 2011.
As Patch has previously reported, Ziesmer was driving with his girlfriend, Roschelle Morgan of Newark, down First Street in Livermore when they got into a gesturing match with Holbrook, who was also driving, over an automotive slight.
Both men ultimately pulled into a parking lot on Old First Street near the Livermore Cyclery and John's Char Burger where Ziesmer and Holbrook got into a fistfight.
According to probable cause statement filed by Livermore police, Ziesmer punched Holbrook in the face twice, knocking him to the ground. As the confrontation continued, the statement says Holbrook reached into his driver's door compartment, retrieved a dagger and stabbed Ziesmer in the upper chest.
After being wounded, Ziesmer drove himself to ValleyCare Medical offices in Livermore but had to be transferred to Eden Hospital in Castro Valley, where he died at 5:27 pm, according to the Mercury News.
Testifying for the prosecution this week was Morgan, girlfriend of the deceased man.
The Mercury reported that she was taken into custody in court because she had an outstanding warrant for her arrest.
The defense argued that she testified to get favorable treatment on her own charges. The prosecution showed a tape of her original statement to police to argue that it was consistent with her testimony this week.
The trial will resume Monday at 9 a.m. in Department 518 of the Hayward Hall of Justice. Patch will file updates.
Read more by clicking on:
an initial report of the stabbing;
an interview with the victim's girlfriend;
an interview with the defendant.