Wirkkala defense hones in on victim's sexuality

Closing arguments in murder trial set for Friday

Wirkkala's defense calls character witnesses

BEND, Ore. - A Bend man, Luke Wirkkala, has waited more than a year to find out if he'll go to prison for shooting and killing his house guest, 31-year-old David Ryder of Bend, last February.

Now the state's case against Wirkkala is in the home stretch. On Friday, attorneys will present closing arguments, and then his fate will be in the hands of the jury.

Wirkkala's murder trial focuses on a fateful night in February 2013, when he gunned down Ryder with a shotgun blast.

Wirkkala claims he was attacked and sexually assaulted by Ryder after a night of Super Bowl partying.

On Thursday, the defense team finished calling its character witnesses. They hoped to prove Ryder was both physically and verbally aggressive when drinking. Specifically, the lawyers want to prove Ryder was sexually interested in men.

Several of Ryder's former co-workers at G-5, a digital marketing company, testified Ryder would make homosexual references to them when drinking.

"He would be pushing me to see if I was homosexual," one G-5 employee testified. "Asking me kind of loaded questions, to see if I was homosexual."

Another of Ryder's coworkers said, "He would come up behind people and kind of hump them. He had actually done it to me once."

On Friday, jurors will get instructions on whether they'll have the option to convict Wirkkala of a lesser charge.

NewsChannel 21 will be in the courtroom for the final day of the trial and have a full report. Follow @KandraKTVZ for the latest.

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