INVERNESS — Three hours into the interview with detectives, Byron Boutin made a candid observation about his role in the death of 18-year-old DeAnna Lee Stires.
"When you put it together, it sounds f----ing evil," Boutin said in a raspy, mostly monotone drawl. "I didn't do the right thing, but I didn't intentionally do the wrong thing."
That, in essence, is Boutin's defense in his capital murder case.
On Thursday, jurors heard the 42-year-old repeat the sentiment several times during the sworn statement recorded Jan. 30. It was 12 days after hunters found Stires' body in Levy County.
During the 4 ½-hour recording, Citrus County sheriff's detectives coaxed more details out of Boutin. Previously, he had denied any knowledge of what happened to the Brooksville teen.
Boutin said he and friend Crystal Brinson picked up Stires from a friend's house in Brooksville on Christmas Eve and brought her to Boutin's singlewide mobile home in Homosassa. They all smoked Boutin's methamphetamine.
Boutin said Brinson arranged to have one of her friends come to Boutin's home on Christmas Day to trade methamphetamine for morphine pills.
At one point, Boutin and Brinson left Stires alone in the trailer. They returned about an hour later to find the place ransacked, Stires in an agitated state, and the methamphetamine and a pipe missing.
Boutin said he found the drugs and wanted to take Stires back to Brooksville. About that time, Brinson, 36, gave Stires a morphine shot, presumably to calm her down, Boutin said. But as they were leaving, Stires "freaked out" again, and Brinson hit her with Boutin's .380 handgun.
Boutin insisted he had no role in the morphine shot or beating. He said Stires was probably having a bad reaction to the drugs and didn't deserve to be hit.
"This girl was not in her right mind," he said.
Boutin said Stires passed out, and they loaded her into his Lincoln and drove to his father's house west of Brooksville. They taped her to a table and, Boutin said, Brinson taped a rag in her mouth. The plan was to turn Stires over to a Brooksville woman who knew her. They left for about an hour, came back and found her dead.
Nearly two days later, he drove north and dumped Stires' body.
A medical examiner testified this week that Stires died of acute morphine intoxication. Prosecutors say Boutin and Brinson, who has yet to stand trial, are guilty of first-degree murder.
In the interview, Boutin said he was sorry for what happened but did not feel responsible for Stires' death.
"Unless letting her spend time with Crystal makes me responsible," he said.
The jury is expected to begin deliberating today.