Larry Jay Reed did something as a joke that did not turn out to be remotely funny, prosecutors said in a trial Tuesday.
Reed pulled out a loaded, chrome .32-caliber handgun and aimed it at the head of his pregnant girlfriend, Anastasia Boyd, while she was talking on the telephone, prosecutors said. She told Reed to get away.
The gun did not go off - that time. But some 20 minutes later, the gun was fired into Boyd's chest, killing her, said Assistant State Attorney Christie Ellis.
Prosecutors on Tuesday began trying to prove Reed was responsible for shooting Boyd.
In her opening statement, Ellis said jurors would see enough evidence in this week's trial to convict Reed of manslaughter.
She said Reed told police different stories about the shooting. At one point he said Boyd accidentally shot herself, and another time said the gun went off when he pulled it out.
"It ended with the death of a human being," Ellis said. "It was no joke to Ms. Boyd ... it was a reckless disregard for the safety of a human being."
Reed was arrested and charged with second-degree murder after the March 24, 2010, shooting at 2211 Anastasia Way S in Lakewood Estates. But the charge later was reduced to manslaughter.
Reed's public defenders chose not to make an opening statement on the first day of the trial, but reserved the right to do so later.
Reed was 18 at the time of the shooting and Boyd was 24. Some family members did not yet know she was about four months pregnant.
Reed talked to 911 operators after the shooting at his house.
"She got shot," he said, sobbing.
"Where's the person that shot them?" the 911 operator said.
"I don't know," Reed said.
Later, still sobbing, he said, "She was messing with it," apparently referring to the gun.
Gary Gibson, who was a St. Petersburg police detective on the case, testified that Reed told him during an interview "that Anastasia was twirling the gun with her right hand and it went off."
But later, he said, Reed told him Boyd pulled the gun from a couch cushion and it went off. Gibson said he pointed out that was two different versions of the story, and said after that, "the defendant indicated he shot the victim."
Staff writer Curtis Krueger can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8232. Twitter: @ckruegertimes.