In a taped interview with police, Gerald W. Evans admitted hitting Bryan P. Horton with a lawn-mower blade but said it was in self-defense.
Prosecutors played the tape Wednesday in 4th District Court during the third day of Evans' first-degree murder trial. He is accused of killing Horton June 19 in the City Center Motel parking lot in a fight over Laura Crocker, Evans' common-law wife for more than six years."When I went down there I had no intention of hurting anyone," Evans said in the interview taped shortly after his arrest.
Evans said he called Crocker's motel room because he wanted to see his two sons. He became upset when Horton answered the telephone and began taunting him, he said. He went to the motel to talk to Horton and took a lawn-mower blade because of Horton's size.
"If he would have been my size I wouldn't have brought anything," he said. "But I thought it might make him stop and think."
He said he kicked Crocker's door open and asked Horton to come outside. When Horton came out he had a hammer in his hand. Evans said he fell down when Horton tried to hit him with the hammer.
Fearing Horton might try to hit him again, Evans got up and struck Horton in the neck with the blade, he said. Horton fell to the ground and tried to get up but "I hit him again on the back," Evans said.
"If he wouldn't have come out with that hammer I would not have hit him," he said. "I had no intention of hurting anyone. It's probably a good thing I slipped or he would have hit me with the hammer first."
Maureen Frikke, assistant state medical examiner, said Horton died from massive hemorrhaging in the brain stem caused by a powerful blow to the neck. During the autopsy she was unable to locate the two main arteries coming into the brain and said she believed they were destroyed by the blow.
"By brain standards this was really a massive hemorrhage," Frikke said.
Frikke said there was no evidence the hemorrhage was the result of natural causes, such as an aneurysm, and ruled the death a homicide.
Horton also suffered a fractured skull, bruises on his neck, shoulder and arm, a large cut on his back and abrasions over several parts of his body, Frikke said.
Evans was expected to take the witness stand Thursday to again give his explanation of the fight with Horton. Evans' attorney Donald Elkins said he also planned to call Crocker back to the witness stand.
Crocker testified Monday that Evans was not abusive, was not capable of murder and that she still loved him. Tuesday she said she received a telephone call about a week before the trial threatening her children if she testified against Evans. She admitted lying on the witness stand about Evans' abusive behavior and her feelings for him because of the threatening call.