Jurors heard more than an hour of closing arguments Thursday in Trent Stanley’s trial on murder and other charges in the death of Grayson County Deputy Chad Key in April.

Jurors heard more than an hour of closing arguments Thursday in Trent Stanley’s trial on murder and other charges in the death of Grayson County Deputy Chad Key in April.


After listening to the arguments, jurors elected to leave for the night and come back Friday morning to start deliberating. Defense attorney Gaylon Riddels told jurors the decision they will make Friday will likely be one of the most important decisions they ever make in their lives.


In an often emotional closing that lasted more than 40 minutes, Riddels did his best to distance his client from the first degree murder charge prosecutors Joe Brown and Donnie Carter would like to see the jury choose. Riddels said his client was drinking and driving the night Mr. Key died. However, he said, his client wasn’t responsible for the wreck that claimed Mr. Key’s life. Riddels put the responsibility for that clearly on the heads of the people he said allowed Mr. Key to stand in the middle of a dark highway with no protection. Riddels said prosecutors and others are trying to convict Stanley of murder in an effort to protect Grayson County from a civil judgement. He said the prosecutors want revenge for the loss of one of their own, and they want Stanley to spend the rest of his life in prison paying for the crime.


He said that wouldn’t be justice, however. Riddels said Stanley couldn’t have avoided Mr. Key that night no matter what his intoxication level was. "I don’t care if you are Jeff Gordon, you are not going to miss Deputy Key," Riddels said at one point to the jury.


He said the defense expert, John Painter, proved that Stanley was only going between 38 and 40 miles per hour when he hit the deputy.


"He did what he was supposed to do," Riddels said in a voice that cracked with emotion. "Yes, he was intoxicated, but he did what he was supposed to do," he said referring the defense’s contention that Stanley was complying with the move over law when the car in front of his obstructed his view of Mr. Key until it was too late for Stanley to avoid hitting the deputy.


Riddels then told the jury to "proceed with caution," because one life had already been lost, and he didn’t want them to throw away his client’s life as well.


Prosecutor Brown listened with little apparent emotion as Riddels questioned Brown’s ethics and his motive for prosecuting Stanley. When it was Brown’s turn to speak, he took offense at the fact that Riddels called out Mr. Key’s wife by name and said what she should expect from the case.


"She should expect justice. She should expect us to do our jobs," Brown said before adding that they — prosecutors and laws enforcement — were trying to do just that.


Brown said if what Riddels was saying were true, he wouldn’t have told the jury about the officer who offered Mr. Key reflective clothing that night or anyone of a handful of other things that might not have been done the way everyone would have wanted that night.


"We brought you the good and the ugly," Brown said.


Then he said even if the jury believed that Stanley’s expert was right and Stanley, who told police he was going 60 miles per hour when they talked to him right after the wreck, was only going 40 miles per hour, he was still driving 40 miles per hour drunk through an area where there was an obvious road obstruction.


"How does that (lower speed) make him not guilty?" Brown asked the jury.


He then told them he wasn’t going to "cry crocodile tears" at them because "I am too mad for that."


Brown went back to a piece of evidence the jury had heard earlier in the day when a lab tech testified that for Stanley’s blood alcohol to be what it was when his blood was drawn after the wreck, he would have had to have consumed 22 drinks the evening of the wreck. He had admitted to four or five on the night of the wreck.


"It is like taking a bullet and a gun and pointing it at Chad Key," Brown said.


The lab tech had testified that Stanley’s blood alcohol content on the night he killed Mr. Key was 0.18.


A BAC of 0.08 is considered legally drunk in Texas. The tech said that Stanley’s BAC at the time of the accident was likely as high as 0.204.