NEW PORT RICHEY — When Michael Ortaliz opened the door to the white SUV and pointed his 9mm Ruger at his wife's lover, he pulled the trigger but nothing happened.
He then "activated" the gun, he told a detective on the scene. He fired five times, killing John Holman, 61, who was still buckled in the driver's seat.
However, when he went to the Brentwood Estates mobile home park on Jan. 24, 2012, he had no intention of hurting anyone, Ortaliz, 61, said on the witness stand during his murder trial Thursday. He just wanted to talk to Holman and his family.
His wife, Karen Ortaliz, had recently left him for Holman. Michael Ortaliz had spent the morning at the bank and changing the locks on his house. The night before, he had shut off his wife's cellphone. He didn't sleep. He waited on a bench for her to arrive at her parent's house in Hudson. When she did, he tucked the gun in the back of his pants and walked over.
"I wanted to find out what was going on," he said during his testimony, with a box of tissues in front of him. "I don't know. I lost it I guess. All of a sudden there was a gun in my hand, and I shot somebody. It was like an overload, like going down a dark tunnel in a dream, and you couldn't get away from it."
Defense attorney Jan Kubicz asked Ortaliz why he brought the gun. Ortaliz said his wife had taken a snub-nose revolver when she left him, and he was worried someone might have it.
Kubicz argued that Ortaliz was engulfed in the heat of passion when he pulled the trigger.
Karen Ortaliz testified that she walked to the door of her parent's house to get her son Michael Jr., and as she walked back she saw her husband kill Holman.
"I saw the gun and I saw the blood on his head. I saw his head explode," she said. "I told him 'Don't kill Mikey.' He said 'I shot the son of a (expletive) and I'm going to shoot you, too.'"
But he didn't. He took the magazine out of his gun and set it on the ground, and waited for authorities to arrive.
Throughout his testimony, he maintained he was "in a fog" and "couldn't remember exactly" what happened.
"You really had no recollection of the events that happened at the (car)?" prosecutor Chris Labruzzo asked.
"I'm not really sure," he said. "It's a stress point for me. I don't know."
"You shot Mr. Holman," Labruzzo said. "You shot him as he sat in that car."
"If you say so," Ortaliz said. "I guess it has to be me, that's what the facts show."
"I understand what the facts show," Labruzzo said. "Did you shoot Mr. Holman? That's the question."
The trial is expected to conclude today.