I didn’t have to know at the time; it was enough for me to fire the gun,” Andrews says about Killing Leonard Bigelow

Brandon Andrews testified Thursday that when he fatally shot Leonard Bigelow in August 2011 he didn’t know whether Bigelow was wielding a knife or holding a pair of keys.

“I didn’t have to know at the time,” Andrews said. “It was enough for me to fire the gun.”

Andrews is charged with first-degree murder while armed and several threat and firearm charges in connection with Bigelow’s death.

At trial, Andrews testified that on the days leading up to Aug. 26, 2011, he had been angry with Bigelow’s sister because she refused to speak with him after she ended their 10-month long relationship.

Andrews said that the relationship between he and the sister was “pretty good.” The pair would go out to eat, see movies, and take the woman’s daughter to the park, all on her dime.

Andrews was broke and homeless, he testified.

Andrews said that they would occasionally argue about his inability to find work, but their arguments never became physical.

On Aug. 22, 2011, the couple fought while in a car; the woman’s daughter was in the vehicle, Andrews said. His girlfriend didn’t like the threats that he had made, she said. She pulled the vehicle over and asked police to remove Andrews from the car. Andrews then walked from that place, near The White House, to the woman’s home in the 1300 block of Emerald Street Northeast.

Andrews testified that he was upset that he had to walk home, so he sent her threatening text messages.

“I sent them to get a rise out of her,” Andrews told the court.

When Andrews arrived at the woman’s house, she was in the yard, but she ignored him, he said. So he decided to send her another threatening message.

“Your windshield won’t make it,” the text said.

Andrews said he then decided to sleep nearby on his aunt’s porch. Andrews testified that he slept outside because he wanted to catch his ex-girlfriend first thing in the morning as she left to take her daughter to school. His plan was to apologize to her, he said.

Andrews told the court that when he approached her outside her home the next morning, her brother, Bigelow, pulled out a knife and threatened to kill him. Andrews said that he told Bigelow that “there was no need for weapons,” and to “fight him like a man.” But since Bigelow wouldn’t put down the knife, Andrews turned and walked away.

Over the course of that day Andrews said that he continued to send the woman threatening text messages; some of the messages were read in court Thursday.

“You’re making this harder than it has to be,” one message said.

Another said, “You’re still ignoring me?”

For two days Andrews continued to send text messages. Finally, the woman responded and told him that the relationship was over and that she wanted him to stop calling and texting her.

Andrews sent her another message: “If you want me to stop, answer my call,” the message said.

And then on the 25th, Andrews sent yet another message: “How do you think you can ignore me?”

On Aug. 26, the day Bigelow was murdered, the woman decided to return Andrews’ belongings, which were in a bag in the back of her vehicle. Andrews testified that she dropped his bag full of clothes at a bus stop near the homeless shelter where she knew he was staying. Andrews said that within seconds people had gone through the bags and took all his belongings.

He then sent her another text message: “I swear to God, I will f— your car up,” the message said.

Two minutes later he sent another message: “You done f— up now, you stupid b—.”

And the messages kept coming:

“That’s your a—!”

“I can’t wait till you get home.”

And, “You owe me!”

Andrews testified that he was simply trying to get her attention so that she would pay for his clothes. He said that she finally responded to his texts and apologized for her actions. But Andrews continued to send her messages.

“You’re making things worse every time you don’t answer,” one message said.

And finally, the last text he sent that evening said, “I’m coming to the house.”

Andrews told the jury that he called the woman’s house and spoke with Bigelow, telling him that he would be at the house by 10 p.m. He had hoped that Bigelow would decide to go to his girlfriend’s house, Andrews testified, so he didn’t arrive to the house until after 10:30.

Andrews said that as he approached the woman’s house, the only people on the porch were Bigelow and his father; no one said a word to each other.

“I saw an object in Leonard’s hands, and I didn’t know what it was,” Andrews told the court.

So he fired two shots.

Bigelow’s father testified that as he sat on the porch that evening he saw Andrews casually walking up the street; Andrews had come from behind an alley, he said. His daughter, Andrew’s ex-girlfriend, was in the house.

Bigelow stepped out onto the porch when Andrews reached within a few feet of their yard fence. The father said that Andrews raised his arm and had a white towel or handkerchief draped over his hand.

He then heard a “bang, bang.”

The father told the jury that no one said a single word, and that Andrews simply turned and casually walked away in the direction from which he came.

The father testified that the two knives that were recovered by police from the front porch were knives he used to clean fish. Those knives, he said, had been on the porch for more than ten months. The father said that Bigelow never picked up either of them that evening.

Closing arguments are expected Friday morning in Judge Robert Morin’s courtroom. Jury deliberations will begin immediately after.

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