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Did PlayStation 3 theft lead to murder? Trial starts in Pasco County

DADE CITY — Doug Abrams had just pulled into his friend's driveway when a man, who had been pacing in the yard waiting for him, stormed up.

Edward Stoddard demanded to know where his stuff was. Abrams swore he didn't know.

Then Stoddard, according to a witness in his trial Tuesday, pulled a gun and fired at Abrams' leg.

Abrams, 28, tried to run but stumbled and fell between two cars.

"Eddie walked up to him and shot him two more times," Adam French, a friend of both men, testified.

Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia asked if Abrams had been armed.

"No, sir. He was running in fear for his life," French said. "He was screaming for his life."

Stoddard, 30, is charged with first-degree murder in the April 23, 2008, shooting and faces a life sentence if convicted.

After the shooting, authorities say, he ran to his mobile home a few doors down on Mangrove Drive in the Angus Valley area of Wesley Chapel. Then he sped away in his pickup and was on the run for a few weeks until his arrest. The gun was never found.

According to witnesses, Stoddard thought Abrams had stolen his PlayStation 3 game console, among other property.

In court documents, witnesses said Stoddard had done a stint in jail in the weeks before the shooting, and while he was locked up, someone burglarized his home.

Abrams, known as "Dougy," had a reputation in the neighborhood as a thief, witnesses said. The rumor was floating around that he stole from Stoddard.

Both men had rap sheets.

Abrams was arrested for the first time at age 14 on armed burglary charges, state records show. Since then, he had been arrested almost 30 times on charges including larceny, burglary and battery.

Stoddard had faced charges including that he fired a gun from inside a car and eluded police.

Several more witnesses testified Tuesday, telling the same basic story as French did.

Margaret Bogue said she was at her house a few doors down when she heard one gunshot ring out, then two more. She locked her door but opened it when French knocked, looking frantic.

"He told me that Eddie just shot Dougy," Bogue testified.

As her friend dialed 911, Bogue said she ran over to aid Abrams, who was fading in and out of consciousness.

"I kept telling him to stay with me," Bogue said. "I told him that he would be all right, and he kind of gave a little chuckle and said, 'Yeah right.'

"And then he closed his eyes."

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.

Did PlayStation 3 theft lead to murder? Trial starts in Pasco County 01/12/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 8:51pm]
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