An admitted pot dealer accused of recruiting two men to kill his father and stepmother while they slept testified Tuesday that he harbored no ill will against his father.
"There's nothing he could do that would make me want to do anything like that," Andrew Nelson, 22, of Pembroke Pines, said from the witness box in a Broward County courtroom.
Scott Nelson, 57, a Florida Power & Light Co. employee, died two days after the Sept. 29, 2009, shooting.
His wife, Julie, survived four gunshots and identified her stepson as one of the three men she saw standing at the foot of her bed during the attack.
Prosecutors portray Nelson as a jealous son, unhappy about the new marriage and its impact on his potential inheritance.
"I didn't even know my dad had a will," Nelson testified in a black suit with a crisp, peach-hued dress shirt and tie that stood in contrast to his droopy earlobes still open and stretched from the oversized earrings he once wore. Across the bases of his fingers were tattooed letters spelling "hard knox" in all capitals.
The entirety of his nearly three hours of testimony was delivered in a dispassionate monotone. Emotion never shook or cracked his voice.
In contrast, jurors listened to 911 recordings of a frantic, panting, sobbing Nelson, then 18, reporting the pre-dawn shooting in the 8400 block of Northwest Fourth Street.
"Help me, there's shooting in my house," he screamed. "They've been shot. Oh my God, help me!"
Nelson told jurors that while he was on house arrest for a pending burglary charge, he was selling marijuana out of his father's home. When the thunder of gunshot shook him from the verge of sleep, he said he assumed it was aimed at him.
Prosecutor Al Ribas presented a list of resentments that needled Nelson: The new marriage, the cost of the engagement and wedding rings, Julie Nelson's "annoying" puppy, his father getting rid of his own dog while he was jailed.
Nelson denied all. When his defense attorney, Jim Lewis, questioned him, he testified that he in no way participated in the killing.
A friend of Nelson's, Sean Spring, told police and testified at trial that Nelson had asked him to "get rid of" his father.
Jail phone records show that Nelson used intermediaries to contact Spring prior to trial to tell him not to come to Florida to testify, Ribas said.
Nelson disputed the essence of that claim: "I told him he doesn't have to come if he doesn't want to."
The former McArthur High student faces a maximum of life in prison if convicted of attempted murder and first-degree murder.
Closing arguments are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in Broward Circuit Judge Michael Usan's courtroom.
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