UPDATE: Kyle Langreder, the man who is accused in the death of Vietnam Veteran 77-year-old Charles "Chick" Silva, has been found guilty of second degree murder and aggravated malicious wounding.
The jury sentenced him to five years on the second degree murder charge and 20 years on aggravated malicious wounding charge which are the state minimums.
Chesapeake, Va. - 23-year-old Kyle Langreder testified in his own murder trial Thursday, finally getting the chance to give his account of what happened September 27th, 2012.
That's the day 77-year-old Charles "Chick" Silva was beaten by a group of young men on ATV's at the Chesapeake Executive Airport.
Langreder admits he was one of them.
“That's the biggest mistake, I should have never…” Langreder said on the witness stand, talking about the day he first encountered Silva.
Langreder says the Vietnam vet told him he was trespassing on airport property, and even fired a warning shot in the air as he left to go back home.
When he told his friends Jon Crum and Michael Coleman about the first encounter with Silva, Langreder says they disregarded the warnings.
“He said, “Let’s go see what his problem is,’” said Langreder, recounting what Jon Crum told him that day.
Langreder says Crum and Coleman hopped on his four-wheeler and headed back out to airport property.
Langreder followed on a dirt bike and it was Crum who reached Mr. Silva first.
“He was racing towards him, when he said, “If you’re going to shoot me, shoot me,” Langreder said, describing Crum’s actions.
Other witnesses have testified that Jon Crum swatted Mr. Silva's rifle and then threw a one-two punch.
Langreder says it didn’t end there.
“Coleman was on his right side, holding him and punching him, in the side and in the face, and Crum was hitting him, trying to pull the gun away and hitting him with the other hand,” said Langreder.
Once they got the gun out of Silva's hands…
“Mr. Crum said, ‘If you want to hit me in the head with a rifle, I’m going to hit you,’ and he hit him in the back of the head with the rifle,” said Langreder talking about some of the injuries Silva sustained.
After the gun was tossed away, out of the picture, Langreder explained why he still threw that last punch.
“As I was walking away, he caught up to me and he grabbed me on the back of my shirt,” said Langreder. “It kind of startled me, kind of scared me, I didn't know what was going to happen, so I just turned around and hit him.”
On cross-examination, prosecutors wondered why Langreder would want to go back to the airport after getting safely home.
“Mr. Silva is not threatening to you, in fact you can’t even see Mr. Silva at this point,” said Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Derek Wagner.
As for the punch that Langreder threw at Silva after his gun was ripped away by the other men...Wagner asked if Silva had threatened Langreder verbally in any way.
“No Sir, but when he grabbed me, I felt threatened,”
Prosecutors, though, brought up Kyle’s Facebook post the night after the attack, when he commented about “dusting” someone.
“You’re letting everyone on Facebook know how you handled Mr. Silva, aren’t you?” asked Wagner.
“I was just trying to be cool, and it was a coward move,” said Langreder.
Closing arguments finished in the case Thursday evening, and the jury will get the case Friday morning.
Some good news for Langreder, the judge decided to throw out the 1st degree murder charge, and downgrade it to 2nd degree murder, because there was not enough evidence to prove pre-meditation.
The jury can also decide to convict him or a lesser charge, or find that he acted in self-defense.
Langreder also faces an aggravated malicious wounding charge, which actually carries a longer sentence than a 2nd degree murder charge.