Attorney: Caryn Kelley eager to tell jurors her story

NEED TO KNOW
  • Caryn Kelley accused of shooting boyfriend Phillip Peatross
  • According to prosecutors, Kelley has given several different explanations for the shooting
  • Defense attorney says Kelley will tell her version of that night
Caryn Kelley on trial for manslaughter in death of Phillip Peatross

Another lovers quarrel leads to murder?

Another lovers quarrel leads to murder?

Woman insists boyfriend's death was an accident

Woman insists boyfriend's death was an accident

Captivated by the Jodi Arias trial? Meet Caryn Kelley...

Caryn Kelley is the only one who knows what happened between her and boyfriend Phillip Peatross before he was shot in the head on July 27, 2011.

On Monday, the first day of her manslaughter trial, Kelley's defense attorney said her client can't wait to tell jurors her version of the story.

Prosecutor Candra Moore played Kelley’s frantic 911 call for jurors, urging them in her opening statement to pay close attention to Kelley’s exact words.

When the operator asks Kelley if Peatross shot himself, Kelley says no. She admits she had the gun, “but it was an accident.”

Moore says the couple was drinking heavily on the night Peatross was shot. Sometime after midnight, he either left the house or slept on the couch and at 4:50 a.m., he started loading up his Jeep with clothing. When he went into Kelley’s bedroom, he was shot.

Read more: Get a peek inside the Caryn Kelley case files

Moore said Kelley has told several versions of the incident and that none of them make sense.

Diana Tennis, Kelley’s defense attorney, says her client can’t wait to tell jurors what happened in her own words – calm words – not the frantic ones you hear on that 911 tape.

Kelley broke down in tears throughout her attorney’s opening statement. Tennis said Kelley was planning to go back to work in medical/pharmaceutical sales and Peatross wasn’t too happy about it. This, according to Tennis, is what the couple was fighting about on the day he died.  

Tennis says Kelley didn’t want Peatross to leave the house because he was drinking (wine, vodka and ultimately margaritas, while Kelley was drinking wine).

Read more: The Caryn Kelley trial: Who's who?

Tennis says the couple wouldn’t go into each other’s house unannounced. So at 4:30 a.m., when Kelley heard the “ding-ding” from her alarm, she grabbed her gun. She had the gun in the house because she was being intimated by an HOA board member from another property she owned.

When Peatross went into Kelley’s room, Tennis says her client knew it was him. He crossed the room, trying to take the gun away, leaving bruises on Kelley’s wrist that Tennis say we’ll see later in the trial.

As Peatross grabbed the gun, he is allegedly saying he wants to hurt himself and, in the struggle, the gun goes off. Peatross died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

But prosecutor Moore says the gun can’t just go off -- someone had to pull the trigger and Kelley has already said Peatross didn't shoot himself.

Kelley is facing 30 years in prison for manslaughter with a deadly weapon.

Read more: Accused of killing lover, did Caryn Kelley murder him?

After opening statements, Moore sped through fifteen witnesses before the end of the day.

Some of the highlights from their testimony: A neighbor of Kelley’s says he heard Kelley say, “Go, just go” at around 12:15 a.m. or 12:20 a.m.

Another neighbor says she heard Kelley’s voice at around 4:45 a.m. She thought Kelley was still having a party but when she looked, she saw the house was dark. She heard Kelley urging police to come inside her home.

Officer Steve Goree, one of the first to arrive on scene, said Kelley smelled of alcohol and was intoxicated. But he admitted that he didn't mention his suspicions about her drinking to anyone else.

A fire department lieutenant says he noticed the gun in the room when he walked in and he said he didn't think it was near the victim. The first police officer on the scene says he saw the gun about 2-3 feet to the right of the victim.

Officer Benjamin Stanaland testified that Kelley changed her story: At first she said Peatross grabbed the gun and shot himself, then she said he grabbed her hand and the gun went off.

With reporting by In Session's John Alleva.

Stay with HLNtv.com for complete coverage of Kelley's trial.

Join the conversation...

HLNtv.com welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.
Caryn Kelley 'going to Disney' after verdict
Caryn Kelley | See all 21 items Caryn Kelley 'going to Disney' after verdict

Advertisement