A San Diego jury will decide if a young man just wanted to get paid after his employer made an unwanted sexual advance on him or if the defendant threatened and then robbed the older man. After a one-week trial, seven men and five women went into deliberations on May 14.
Defendant Bryan Paul Jeffries, 30, took the witness stand earlier in the week to tell the jury that he was “groped” after he fell asleep on his employer’s couch in December 2012. Jeffries could not recall how many beers he had after work, although there was testimony that ten empty beer cans were found in the kitchen.
Alleged victim Michael Welch denied grabbing Jeffries’s private parts and claimed that he was punched, physically threatened, and forced to drive Jeffries to the bank.
Prosecutor Teresa Pham told the jury that Jeffries is guilty of kidnap-for-robbery because he forced Welch to drive seven miles to a bank in Carlsbad where he got $400 cash.
Attorneys asked the jury to carefully study surveillance video from the ATM that day, late December 10, 2012. “Nobody’s touching anyone,” said defense attorney Laura Copsey, suggesting the money withdrawal was not under duress.
Copsey said that in the recorded 911 call, the alleged victim admitted that he had agreed to drive his day-worker to the bank ATM so he could get paid.
Copsey also suggested that 62-year-old Welch is “unusual” in that he likes to employ young men who are down on their luck and then hosts them in his home after work — where they end up sleeping on his couch. It was asserted that the workers were not qualified to perform the plumbing work for which they were paid “under the table,” which the attorney characterized as “shady.”