BROOKSVILLE — Angel Gonzalez's defense attorney and the prosecutor trying to send him to prison for life agree on one issue — he didn't shoot anyone.
Gonzalez and his alleged accomplice, Stephen Horne, 20, face first-degree murder charges in connection with the May 3, 2010, shooting of Horne's 47-year-old father, Ivan.
Gonzalez's trial began Monday in a Hernando courtroom.
Though assistant state attorney Pete Magrino acknowledged the 28-year-old didn't the pull the trigger, he told the jury Gonzalez played a key role in a killing motivated by drugs.
Gonzalez's attorney, Junior A. Barrett, said the case hinges on two questions: Why was his client at the crime scene? And did Gonzalez know Horne intended to kill his father?
Gonzalez and Horne knew Ivan Horne would soon pick up 150 prescribed oxycodone pills, Magrino told the jury. Horne had even shown Gonzalez his 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun, and friends had heard the two men discuss "hittin' a lick," slang for committing a robbery.
One day before the shooting, Gonzalez and a female friend bought shotgun shells at a Wal-Mart, Magrino said. Investigators later found the gun, shells and the receipt buried in Horne's grandmother's yard.
Horne and Gonzalez, reports state, picked up Ivan Horne in Tampa the night of May 3. With Gonzalez driving, Ivan Horne sat in the passenger seat and his son, holding the shotgun, rode in back.
At one point, Magrino said, the gun discharged. Horne told his father it was a firecracker.
Gonzalez drove to a vacant house in Ridge Manor. Once there, Horne pumped a round into his father's back. As he lay dying, reports state, Horne shot him three more times.
After stripping off the dead man's shorts, Horne told detectives, he and Gonzalez drove to Stephen Horne's home and took 22 oxycodone pills and about $640 from the pants pockets.
Gonzalez, Magrino told the court, admitted to detectives he and Horne stole the pills, but he wasn't the shooter.
John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or email@example.com.