INVERNESS — Kevin Shields sat on the stand Wednesday and recalled the day last December when Byron Boutin and Crystal Brinson showed up at Shields' house in Floral City.
Brinson was jumpy and said they had something to tell him. She said 18-year-old DeAnna Stires had freaked out, ransacked Boutin's house and stolen his methamphetamine.
"She said, 'I had to whoop her ass, Kevin,' " Shields recalled. "I said, 'Where the hell is DeAnna?' and she says, 'She's in the trunk of the car.' "
The first witness on the second day of Boutin's murder trial, Shields seemed to bolster both sides. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Boutin, but defense attorneys say Brinson is responsible for Stires' death.
Assistant State Attorney Pete Magrino told jurors during opening statements that Boutin, 42, and Brinson, 36, were angry that Stires had stolen Boutin's methamphetamine, and Boutin told Brinson to "do something about it." Magrino said Boutin is guilty of first-degree murder even if it was Brinson who hit Stires in the head with Boutin's handgun and injected her with morphine.
Defense attorney Charlie Vaughn hopes to convince jurors that Boutin just wanted Stires out of his Homosassa mobile home on Dec. 26, 2012, and Brinson took matters into her own hands.
Vaughn repeated what Boutin told investigators after his arrest:
He and Brinson had left Stires alone for about an hour and returned to find drugs missing, the trailer in disarray and an agitated Stires. He said Brinson pistol-whipped Stires after finding the meth in her purse and injected her with a shot of morphine. Boutin said he thought the shot was consensual.
Boutin claims that Stires, who lived in Brooksville with her father, was snoring when Boutin and Brinson put her into the back of his Lincoln Continental and drove to his father's house west of Brooksville. Hoping she would sober up, they bound her to a table in the garage, taped her mouth shut and left. He said they returned a short time later to find her dead. Boutin admitted to dumping Stires body in a remote wooded area of Levy County a couple of days later.
A medical examiner testified Tuesday that Stires died of acute morphine intoxication.
Shields said he did methamphetamine with Stires in Brooksville on Christmas Eve before Boutin and Brinson came to pick her up. When the pair showed up at his house two or three days later, he said, Brinson was clearly in control.
"There was nothing mentioned by the defendant about permanence or loss of life," said Shields, who has known Boutin for about 20 years. "Miss Brinson did all of this."
Later Wednesday, forensics experts testified that Stires' blood was found in the trunk of Boutin's car and on the rear passenger door.
Brinson faces the same charge as Boutin and has yet to stand trial.