Man takes stand in federal agent shooting case
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- The man who shot and killed a federal agent took the stand in court to prove he shot the agent in self-defense.
Sixty-nine-year-old James Wonder took the witness stand Monday morning to tell his side of the story when he shot and killed 52-year-old U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent Donald Pettit. "He was screaming at the top of his lungs. I could barely understand what it was," said Wonder from the stand. "It was an enormous amount of profanity."
Pettit was shot dead in front of his 12-year-old daughter at a Pembroke Pines Postal Service parking lot on Aug. 5, 2008.
"Is this the way the car was parked when you were standing behind your vehicle?" said the prosecutor, pointing to a picture of Pettit's car.
Wonder: "Yeah, that was it."
Prosecutor: "In that exact position?"
Wonder: "Yeah, that's exactly where he put it."
Wonder has argued he shot Pettit in self-defense. Pettit's daughter described her father as angry over Wonder's driving and said her father went out of his way to then confront Wonder.
Wonder: "I thought he was going to beat the (expletive) out of me and kill me."
Prosecutor: "Is there any other reason you pulled the gun?"
Wonder: "To protect myself."
Prosecutor: "And what did you think would happen if you didn't pull the gun?"
Wonder paused for a while and then said, "I think I would have been killed."
One the day of the shooting, drawing suspicion to his case, Wonder left the scene. He even changed his hair color and hid his car inside his garage. He said, "They were looking to gun someone down."
The prosecution insists Wonder was not in fear of his life but angry about the same altercation on the road.
Wonder is trying to get the case against him dismissed under the Florida Stand your Ground Law.
The hearing will continue for the rest of this week.
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