SANTA CRUZ -- Dylan Bayly on Tuesday remained calm through hours of prosecution questions seeking to prove he intentionally stabbed his former roommate to death in a downtown parking lot.
Trial testimony began April 14, in front of Judge Robert Atack. It is expected to conclude Friday.
During questioning by prosecutor Jeff Rosell, Bayly, 29, testified that he stabbed 26-year-old Justin Zuk in self-defense, to "hold him at bay" while Zuk lunged toward him in a downtown parking lot about 2 a.m. on Sept. 27, 2008. He said he saw a "shiny object" in Zuk's hand, though Rosell said no weapon was found.
Prosecutors contend the violence was intentional and that Bayly told a friend hours earlier that Zuk was "gonna get stabbed" if he were not more careful. Bayly stabbed Zuk deep in the side and sliced him 8 inches from neck to chest after chasing him from a confrontation that began outside Red Restaurant & Bar on Cedar Street, prosecutors argue.
The chase was sparked when Zuk, who was drunk, punched Bayly as Bayly sat in a car, police say.
Bayly testified he only intended to "chase Zuk off," but that his state of mind changed drastically when he saw a second person nearby who looked "big as a house" and whom he thought was with Zuk.
"I felt like I had been lured into a dark alleyway," he said.
Rosell, calling that figure a "mystery man," intimated the stabbing was a culmination of Bayly feeling threatened by Zuk since the pair, who were housemates, were evicted in 2005 after heated arguments about Zuk's alleged medical marijuana sales.
Rosell repeatedly challenged Bayly's honesty, asking him if he knew that certain actions such as pulling a knife out as he ran after Zuk would be harmful to his case and show premeditation. Rosell said witnesses had reported seeing him reaching into his right pocket as he ran.
But Bayly said he only pulled out the knife when Zuk came toward him in the dark lot. He said he stabbed Zuk first in the side, lost sight of him and then was "waving blindly at the other person over his head."
He said he didn't aim, though Rosell said he testified Friday that he had aimed low and didn't mean to kill him.
Defense attorney Tony Serra said earlier Bayly had knives for mushroom foraging, but Rosell questioned if he practiced or thought about how to pull the knife that quickly.
"These mushrooms aren't going anywhere are they?" Rosell asked.
"I've just become proficient," Bayly said. "I was scared; it's an intuitive thing."
The 6-foot, 4-inch Bayly was self-assured and unemotional Tuesday morning but became increasingly hesitant and unfocused, saying at one point he had not slept in "a while."
He testified that he hid in his aunt's backyard on Riverside Avenue after running from police and throwing the bloody knife on the roof of a downtown building. He then walked to a friend's house, where he cleaned blood from his shoe, showered, changed clothes and slept. He said he threw up that morning after seeing in an online news report that Zuk had died.
He admitted to dumping the blood-stained clothes in a dumpster behind Coffeetopia on Mission Street and to searching online about self-defense issues on a friend's computer. The night after the stabbing, he said he went to a Warrior Queen concert in San Francisco. He said he rode up to the city with a friend to see his sister, but went to the concert after being unable to reach her.
He left the club after friends warned him that Zuk's friends were there, whom his attorney called "gang types."
"I was scared about more than just the law," Bayly said.
Bayly turned himself in the next day, calling police from the Red Room.
Zuk's mother and several friends were in the courtroom Tuesday, as were a handful of Bayly's supporters. The victim's mother left the courtroom for a few moments during testimony about how her son was killed.
Bayly's cross-examination began Friday and concluded Tuesday.