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Thursday, September 24, 14:38:27Login ] [ Contact Forum Admin ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 12345[6]7 ]
Subject: Beauty queen testifies slain boyfriend `one of my best friends'

RUSS BYNUM Associated Press
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Date Posted: 03/12/05 3:44:27am

SAVANNAH, Ga. - Beauty queen Sharron Nicole Redmond told jurors Friday how her boyfriend of three years slapped her and cheated on her, yet she denied being in a jealous rage when she fatally shot him in 2003.

In fact, the former Miss Savannah said, "he was one of my best friends."

"I have never had one boyfriend who had not had some type of relationship with another woman, sexual or otherwise," Redmond testified. "So jealousy is not an issue."

Redmond, 23, is charged with murdering Shorter in a confrontation outside the home of another woman he was dating, four months after she was crowned Miss Savannah 2003. She has admitted firing the gun, but claims it was in self defense.

The petite beauty queen - who stands just 4-feet, 9-inches - spoke in confident, assured tones after taking the witness stand Friday, the fourth day of testimony in her trial. However, she sobbed and sniffled several times as she described her three-year relationship with Shorter, 25.

"I would not only classify Kevin as my boyfriend, but I would also say Kevin was one of my best friends," Redmond said her voice cracking but with no tears.

Redmond shot Shorter on Dec. 16, 2003, when he found her at the home of his second girlfriend, Rachel Hall, discussing their rival relationships. Hall testified Shorter became enraged and shouted angrily at Redmond, using sexual insults.

The beauty queen pulled a gun, which she says she kept because another man had been stalking her, from her car. But she didn't shoot until it appeared both Redmond and her boyfriend were leaving.

Redmond fired from the open window of her car, hitting Shorter in the right buttock as he stood in the door of his own vehicle. The bullet pierced his femoral artery, and he died from blood loss three days later.

Redmond did not testify about the shooting Friday. Superior Court Judge Michael L. Karpf recessed after she had talked for more than 90 minutes. Her testimony was to resume Monday.

Defense attorney Michael Schiavone told jurors earlier that Redmond intended the shot as a warning because she feared Shorter was reaching for a gun. The only firearm police found was Redmond's.

The opening of Redmond's testimony resembled an application for a beauty pageant as she read the text of a stack of academic honors and award certificates she had received from kindergarten through high school.

She described how she graduated from Atlanta's Spelman College in three years and the long hours she worked in 2003 during her first year teaching English, Spanish and literature at Savannah's Beach High School.

Redmond said she met Shorter at a nightclub in 2000 and began dating him after he won approval from her mother and two brothers. But nine months into their relationship, she said, his dark side surfaced.

Shorter would often slap her, Redmond testified, sometimes leaving bruises on her face. Once, she said, he smacked her so hard the impact flung her off the trunk of the car she was sitting upon.

Still, Redmond said, she accepted an engagement ring from Shorter on Sept. 27, 2003 - not knowing he had also given a ring to Hall. A month later, she called police after an argument in which she said Shorter grabbed her by the throat and threw her to the floor.

It was the only time, Redmond said, she ever called the police after Shorter struck her.

"I would get shoved, I would get slapped, I would get grabbed around the neck where I couldn't move," Redmond said. "I loved Kevin and I just started to accept that was part of his personality. I wanted to help him change."

Earlier Friday, a ballistics expert testified that the bullet Redmond fired ricocheted off her boyfriend's car before fatally wounding him, rebutting a prosecution witness.

Kelly Fite, a retired ballistics examiner for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, was the first witness called by Redmond's attorneys as they opened their case Friday. He examined photos of a scratch in the side of Shorter's car and the bullet holes in the slain man's pants.

Prosecutors tried to debunk the defense's ricochet theory. GBI firearms examiner Chris Robinson testified previously that no auto paint was found on the killing bullet, and it showed no deformities from striking a hard surface.

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