Defendant Tahashi Matthews took the stand Friday to recall the night he was arrested in the shooting death of Jonathan Nelson, telling a story much different from earlier accounts in his murder trial.
Matthews claimed it was Nelsons cousin who pointed the gun and that Nelson was shot in a scuffle that followed.
Earlier this week, Quinton Osborne testified at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse in the trial of Matthews, who is accused in the Nov. 19, 2009, shooting outside a University City apartment complex.
Osborne told jurors that he, then 22, and his cousin Nelson, 18, were smoking marijuana in Osbornes car in a parking lot outside their apartment.
The car door was yanked open, Osborne testified. He said a man wearing a ski mask fired twice, shouted demands and continued shooting as Osborne drove away. Nelson died that night.
But Matthews, 35, contradicted that testimony Friday.
He said he had left home that night to buy marijuana at a nearby apartment complex. He said he then called a friend for a ride and began walking to meet him, cutting through Nelson and Osbornes apartment complex on the way.
Matthews said two men in a black car shouted a slur at him as they drove by him. Matthews said he kept walking and soon came upon the same two men, standing outside their parked car.
Mr. Osborne had a gun beside his leg in his left hand, and he put it to my right side, Matthews testified. Osborne reached into Matthews pocket and took his marijuana, Matthews said.
I did something crazy and grabbed the gun, Matthews said. When I grabbed the gun, he fired the gun two times.
Nelson ran back this way to the car while Im wrestling with the gun, and after that, I end up with the firearm, he said. When he looked up, he said he saw Nelson holding a gun of his own.
Matthews said he took off running, heard a shot from the car and turned around to fire two shots as the car sped away.
A short time later, he said his friend, Jerry Fewell, picked him up.
I got in Mr. Fewells car and I was, I guess the word is, hysterical, he said. Being that Im a felon, Ive got a gun, I have this toboggan on my head, it was looking pretty bad, so I threw the gun out the window.
Police later found a .22-caliber revolver on the edge of the road.
Matthews said he was wearing a gray ski cap that night. He showed the jury how he was wearing it with his dreadlocks stuffed inside, a few pulled out through the eye holes. He told jurors he never pulled it over his face that night.
Its a toboggan to me, but to police its a ski mask, he said.
Two detectives questioned Matthews after he was arrested that night. He denied knowledge of the shooting, he said.
I was scared because they told me somebody had been killed, and I thought I had killed somebody, he said. All of this happened over me wanting to smoke some marijuana.
Earlier in the trial, witnesses had said DNA on the guns grip showed samples of at least three people, but exactly who is uncertain. They testified that the only identifiable prints on Osbornes car were Osbornes.
Other witnesses have said that Osbornes car was full of dozens of live rounds for other weapons.
Matthews is charged with first-degree murder, two counts of attempted armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a felon. If convicted of first-degree murder, he would be sentenced to life without parole.
The trial resumes Tuesday.