LONG BEACH - The defense opened its case Wednesday in the retrial of a Belmont Shore man who was accused of gunning down another local man outside a popular restaurant and bar.
The first trial of Stanley Park, who shot and killed Michael Martoni, 36, in 2008 during an altercation outside Yankee Doodles, 4100 E. Ocean Blvd., ended in a deadlock.
Park, who faces murder and weapons charges, admits to the shooting but claims it was in self defense.
Park testified he was "terrified" after Martoni attacked him without provocation outside the bar, dazing him with a punch to the head. He admitted he was illegally carrying a concealed loaded pistol and pulled it after Martoni threatened to stomp his head on the curb.
"I thought he'd literally put my head on the curb and step on it," Park said. "I thought he would kill me."
Under questioning from his attorney, Linda Parisi, Park said Martoni, whose autopsy revealed a blood alcohol content of .23, asked him, "Do you have the (expletive) to pull the trigger?"
At that point, Park said Martoni lunged at him again and he fired the first of two shots. Park said Martoni straightened up after being shot in the torso and lunged again, causing Park to fire a second shot that struck Martoni in the head.
Park admitted he fled after the shooting and disposed of the gun in the Los Angeles River before turning himself in almost two weeks later.
The defendant also admitted to using cocaine earlier in the evening of the shooting.
Under exhaustive cross examination from Deputy District Attorney Steve Schreiner that lasted more than four hours, Park said he didn't know why he took the gun into the bar, rather than leaving it locked in his car or home. Park said he carried the gun for protection at the market he managed on Anaheim Street in downtown Long Beach.
There were fireworks after the jury left for the day when Parisi asked for a mistrial for what she described as smirks and head shaking by Long Beach Police Department Detective Malcolm Evans at the prosecutor's table, which she said influenced the jury.
Schreiner angrily rebuked the claims, calling it hypocrisy and outrageous after the "histrionics we've seen from the defense."
Judge Jesse Rodriguez denied the mistrial and asked everyone to maintain their composure in court.
The trial continues today.