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Caryn Kelley 'too emotional' to testify

  • Defense allowed to tell jurors about Phillip Peatross' suicide threat in 2006
  • Former medical examiner says gun was an inch from Peatross' cheek when it fired
  • Caryn Kelley faces 30 years in prison for manslaughter
Caryn Kelley 'too emotional' to testify

Woman insists boyfriend's death was an accident

Woman insists boyfriend's death was an accident

Caryn Kelley trial: 29 evidence photos

Caryn Kelley trial: 29 evidence photos

A tearful Caryn Kelley told the court she was too emotional to testify before her defense rested its case on Friday. She's on trial for manslaughter in the death of her boyfriend, Phillip Peatross.

Kelley says Peatross accidentally shot himself as the two struggled over her gun. But the prosecution says it was Kelley who had her finger on the trigger when the gun fired.

Read more: Caryn Kelley breaks down in front of jurors

The defense scored some key points earlier in the day when they got to mention an incident in 2006 where Peatross threatened to kill himself in front of his ex-wife. He was involuntarily committed.

A former medical examiner also testified that the gun was about an inch from the victim’s cheek before it discharged, killing him instantly. This, along with the previous suicide threat, supports the defense’s theory that it was Peatross who put the gun to his head before it fired.

Read more: Who pulled the trigger on Caryn Kelley’s gun?

The medical examiner who worked the case testified earlier in the week that the gun was much further away from Peatross’ cheek – about three to six inches -- when it went off.

Lauren LePage, a friend of Kelley’s, testified that the defendant was scared of a man from the homeowner’s association of one of her rental units, which is why the defense says Kelley had the gun.

But when Mohammad Helmy later took the stand in the prosecution’s rebuttal case, he said Kelley never seemed afraid of him. The two did have several confrontations over parking issues at one of her units, according to Helmy.

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

On one occasion, he says Kelley knocked on his door and cursed him out. He also says she “popped out of nowhere” to scare him on another occasion and cursed him out again over their parking issues.

Lois Legg, a friend and neighbor of Kelley’s, also testified in the prosecution’s rebuttal case. She says the two would help with each other’s dogs. She testified about going into Kelley’s house on numerous occasions and never hearing chimes go off, indicating that the door had been opened.

On the night Peatross was shot, Kelley says she grabbed the gun, thinking he was an intruder because he made her alarm chime when he entered her house at 4 a.m. The two had been drinking and fighting earlier in the night and she told him to leave around midnight.

Read more: Who’s who in the Caryn Kelley trial

Kelley’s defense says Peatross wouldn’t come in the house unannounced, but Legg says she saw him go into Kelley’s house when she wasn’t home. She also says his Jeep was parked in the same spot the morning after the incident, suggesting he never left in his vehicle that night. The prosecution suggests he slept on the couch and was moving clothes into his Jeep before he entered Kelley’s room and the two struggled for the gun.

The state will call its final three witnesses in its rebuttal case next Tuesday. Closing arguments will follow after that. Then it’s up to the jury to decide who pulled the trigger the night Peatross was accidentally shot. 

Kelley is facing 30 years in prison if she’s found guilty of manslaughter.

With reporting by In Session’s John Alleva.

Stay with for complete coverage of Kelley's trial.

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Get a peek inside the Caryn Kelley case files
Caryn Kelley | See all 21 items Get a peek inside the Caryn Kelley case files