Cobenais Guilty of 2nd Degree Murder

By KBJR News 1

November 4, 2011 Updated Nov 4, 2011 at 6:37 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- A jury finds Stephen Cobenais guilty of 2nd degree murder and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. He was charged with the 2009 murder of Mario Highler in Duluth.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 6th at 1:30p.m.

Stephen Cobenais spent over five hours on the stand Wednesday and again Thursday, testifying in his own defense.

Both sides agreed that there was an argument on the night Highler died and a shot was fired. But, the prosecution says there's no proof that the gun went off accidentally as Cobenais waved Highler out of the room as the defense had argued.

Prosecuting attorney Leslie Biers said the fight was fueled by alcohol and it got out of control.

She said Cobenais is rightly charged with second degree murder.
Defense attorney David Malban said the witnesses weren't credible because their testimony was inconsistent and all were involved in a party in which there was a lot of drinking.

Malban says the jury should find his client guilty only of second degree manslaughter and illegal possession of a weapon.

Written for the web by Zach Vavricka