LARGO — Patrick A. Evans sat before a jury and a nearly full courtroom Monday with an eerie task — listening to a recording that purportedly reveals him killing his wife and her friend.
But Evans, a former vice president of Jabil Circuit, testified in his own defense and flatly denied the voice on the recording was his.
On the accidentally made 911 recording, a man identified as "Rick" can be heard barking at the two victims to sit on the bed. Evans goes by "Rick."
Apparently to help prove it wasn't his voice, Evans' attorney asked him to say those same words for the jury. So Evans said "Sit on the bed," then he said it louder, then he shouted the words.
At one point he seemed to say "Sit on the bed" with the hint of an accent, which prompted scattered snickers from observers in the courtroom. That led Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Richard Luce to admonish them and order no more laughter.
The episode amounted to a partial re-enactment of the murder by the man accused of committing it — an unusual moment in an already unusual trial in which prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Evans denied he was the killer and said he did not know who might have committed the double homicide.
"I wish I did. I don't know who did this," Evans said.
Prosecutors say that on Dec. 20, 2008, Evans went to the Gulfport condo where his estranged wife, Elizabeth K. Evans, lived. She was there with her friend, Jerry B. Taylor, 43. Patrick Evans is accused of pulling out his .40-caliber Glock handgun and killing them.
At the time of the shooting, someone in the condo had been on the line with a 911 emergency dispatcher and the phone had not been hung up. So the killing was recorded.
Assistant State Attorney William Loughery said evidence against Evans is "overwhelming," not just the recording, but also ballistic evidence that matches shells found at the scene to a handgun owned by Evans.
But on Monday, after several days of evidence presented by the prosecution, defense attorney David Parry began attacking the state's case.
He called to the stand Evans' brother Rodney, who says he was with his brother on the day of the shooting, grilling hamburgers and fishing off the dock at the executive's waterfront Pass-a-Grille home. He said they were together until about 8:20 p.m., which would have been after the killings.
Parry also elicited testimony about the guns in Evans' gun safe, and the different people who had access to the codes that open the safe and his home — possibly to argue later that someone else could have retrieved the murder weapon.
Parry also called a toxicologist who testified that Elizabeth Evans had a blood alcohol content of about 0.074 plus some level of prescribed anxiety medications, which could have affected her perceptions.
Patrick Evans also testified about marital problems with his second wife, Andrea Evans, and about his work in Hong Kong, Singapore and China for Jabil Circuit. During cross-examination, Evans acknowledged having an affair with his second wife, Andrea, while still married to his third, Elizabeth, and agreed that it was a bad decision.
He acknowledged filing for divorce against Elizabeth, then withdrawing his divorce petition. But he denied being bent on getting back together with Elizabeth after she later filed for divorce herself. He said his main goal was to have a stable situation for everyone, including the son he had with Andrea.
Prosecutors are expected to continue cross-examining Evans this morning and the case could go to the jury today.