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St. Petersburg man's trial begins in girlfriend's death

Opening arguments began Tuesday in the murder trial of Troy A. Sierra, who is accused of shooting his 27-year-old girlfriend to death at their St. Petersburg apartment in 2007.

Sierra, 41, was arrested early last year and charged with first-degree-murder in the death of Kelly D. Burgess. Prosecutors say Sierra fired three shots at Burgess, hitting her twice in the head.

Burgess was breaking up with Sierra, the prosecution said, and she was moving out when Sierra shot her to death.

Assistant State Attorney Loren Pincus began his opening statement to the jury with the sounds of the crime: "Three gunshots. Bang. Bang. Bang. Three gunshots fired by a gun held by Mr. Sierra."

Pincus then described how Sierra left the scene of the crime and took a bus to Orlando, where he was found passed out and drunk at a gas station.

Police were called to an apartment complex at 540 Carillon Parkway N on the morning of Dec. 28, 2007, after gunshots were reported by Anthony Bodtmann, who was staying in the apartment below.

Bodtmann testified Tuesday that he heard footsteps after the gunshots.

"Those footseps … were very familiar," Bodtmann said. "It was very clear that it was the person who lived in that apartment."

Bodtmann then called 911, he testified. Bodtmann later testified that he saw a man matching Sierra's description leave the apartment.

Police responded but did not enter Sierra's apartment until the next day, despite a report of gunshots.

The trial continues today.

Andy Boyle can be reached at or (727) 893-8087.

St. Petersburg man's trial begins in girlfriend's death 07/14/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 11:07pm]
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