POMONA — A prosecutor and defense attorney gave closing arguments today in the murder trial for two men accused of robbing and killing an Ontario man at a Holt Avenue barbershop.
The attorneys clashed over whether barber Larry Hammett, 46, was shot because he resisted a robbery attempt at Groom Time, or because he threatened to kill one of the men accused in his killing.
Omari Ali, 21, and Keyon Rasheed Hill, 20, could face life without the possibility of parole if convicted of murder for Hammett’s killing.
Deputy District Attorney Ian Phan told jurors in Pomona Superior Court that Ali was lying when he testified that he shot Hammett because the barber pointed a gun in his face after Ali declined to purchase marijuana from him.
“Mr. Ali is not to be trusted, not to be believed, and he did not have the right to use self-defense that day,” Phan told the jury of eight women and four men.
Phan told jurors that Hill and Ali robbed Hammett of marijuana and money, and shot and killed him because he resisted.
“That was their purpose in showing up to the barbershop,” Phan said.
Hill’s attorney, Ronald Whitenhill, told jurors that Hill “was in the wrong place at the wrong time” the day of Hammett’s killing.
Hill and Ali went to the barbershop to purchase marijuana from Hammett, and did not rob him or set out to kill him, Whitenhill said.
The attorney said that testimony this week from people who witnessed the barbershop killing supports defense claims.
Phan emphasized in his closing argument that marijuana and other items were missing from the barbershop after the killing — because Ali and Hill took them, he said.
But Whitenhill told jurors that the marijuana and other items were missing because one of Hammett’s friends removed them before police arrived to try to keep it secret that Hammett was selling marijuana.
Attorneys are scheduled to finish closing arguments Monday, and once arguments are finished the jury will begin deliberating.
Ismail Ali, Omari Ali’s father, said in an interview this morning that he feels his son and Hill should be found not guilty, and he believed his son was telling the truth on the witness stand this week.
“It held up good,” the Los Angeles man said of his son’s story. “I wasn’t there, he was, so he knows.”