Man Killed Stepfather After Request to Do Yard Work, Mother Says - NBC4 Washington

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Man Killed Stepfather After Request to Do Yard Work, Mother Says

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    News4's Meagan Fitzgerald reports on the first day of testimony at the trial of a man charged with killing his stepfather, a D.C. police detective, after a fight over doing yard work. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015)

    The mother of the man accused of killing his stepfather took the stand Tuesday, telling jurors her son snapped after her husband asked for help in the family's yard.

    Antwan James shot his stepfather, Metropolitan Police Department detective Joseph Newell, 19 times outside the family's home in Upper Marlboro, Maryland on April 22, 2013, Prince George's County police say. The entire shooting was caught on video, according to police.

    James's mother, Bernadette Newell, testified for the first time on Tuesday. She said Joseph Newell, 46, asked his three stepsons for help outside their home in a gated community on the 6700 block of Green Moss Drive. James, then 27, refused, and his mother told him if he didn't help, he had to leave, she told the jury.

    "He jumped up and said, 'You're doing it because of him,' and said, 'Watch this,' and he was out the door," she said.

    Moments later, she heard a hail of gunfire. Newell fell to the ground and the gunman then stood over him and fired four more rounds into his body, police previously said.

    James was depressed after he resigned from the D.C. fire department, according to his mother. She asked him to talk with a therapist or pastor. Asked by James' defense attorney if she had taken her son to a doctor, she said no. "I failed him," she said.

    Video of James shooting his stepfather was captured by a neighbor's surveillance camera, Julie Parker of the PGPD said.

    "The video very clearly identifies the victim in this case, Detective Newell, working on a light fixture outside his home, and the suspect very clearly walks up to him and shoots him multiple times," she said.

    James faces life in prison without parole if convicted of first-degree murder. The trial is expected to conclude early next week.