Guilty verdicts, life sentence for man accused of killing brothers in bar fight

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ST. CLOUD, Fla. —

A jury returned a verdict of guilty of two counts of first-degree murder on Thursday evening in the trial of a man who said he shot and killed two brothers in self-defense at a bar last year.

The jury also found Jason Clair guilty of aggravated battery.

Clair put his hands on his head, and some of his family members could be heard crying as the verdict was read.

The judge in the case began the sentencing process immediately after the verdict was read, just before 7:30 p.m.

A short time later Clair was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

He dropped his head to the podium, nearly falling to the floor, as he heard his fate.

During the sentencing process Clair's family members sobbed and asked the victims' family for forgiveness.

After the trial April Boggs, mother of the brothers who were killed, said the verdict was the right one.

"I am very glad there was a guilty verdict returned, but it doesn't bring my sons back," said Boggs.

Clair said he shot Joel and James Kun in self-defense during a fight outside Len'z Dug-Out Pub in St. Cloud in June 2011. If convicted, Clair faces life in prison.

Clair could only sit and watch Thursday as a prosecutor painted him as a murderer who gunned down the Kun brothers.

“The defendant that evening is aggressive, angry and mad,” the prosecutor told jurors.

The state told jurors Clair was upset he lost a fight, went to his truck and grabbed a gun, then went back toward the bar to pursue the victims.

Prosecutors said that when Clair was punched by one of the victims, he pulled out the gun and opened fire, striking each victim multiple times, even firing after the victims were on the ground.

“If somebody's laying on the ground, bleeding to death, it can't be self-defense,” the prosecutor said.

But defense attorney Robert Larr argued it was self-defense, and Clair feared for his life and was firing blind because of the beating he took.

Larr said there is plenty of reasonable doubt, especially given the witnesses had all been drinking at 25-cent beer night.

“We don't have a bright, sober, articulate witness,” said Larr. “We have a crowd of drunks."

Larr also said there was only one unbiased witness, and she testified it was clear Clair was beaten severely before he started shooting.

 “He is beaten unmercifully, kicked in the face until his eyes are swollen shut,” said Larr.

During his trial, Clair calmly told jurors he thought he was going to die, and he had to defend himself.

Moments after taking the stand in his own defense on Wednesday, Clair told jurors his memory of the night he shot the Kun brothers was foggy because the brothers had beaten him so badly.

"I was covering myself and trying not to get beat to death. I was afraid for my life at that point," Clair said in court.

Clair said one of the Kun brothers had a knife, and he said both brothers had threatened to kill him.

He told jurors that by the time he pulled out his gun, his eyes were bloody and so swollen, he could barely see.

Clair testified that he fired blindly and didn't even know he had hit anyone until the police told him later.

"I had concussions to my head, blood in my mouth. I don't remember being at the hospital," said Clair.

His testimony followed other defense witnesses who said they also saw the Kun brothers attack Clair.

"They were kicking him in the face, stomping him in the head; I couldn't watch anymore," said witness Jamie Terrell.

That's in sharp contrast to state witnesses who told jurors that Clair was not seriously hurt during a scuffle with the Kuns and that his injuries came from an angry mob that tackled him after the shootings.

State witnesses said the brothers were walking away from Clair in the bar's parking lot when Clair grabbed a gun and fired.

Jurors heard from Medical Examiner Gary Utz, who used a diagram to show them the injuries sustained by the Kun brothers in the shooting.

Utz testified that Joel Kun was shot in the head, chest and arms and that James Kun had 10 gunshot wounds on his body.