Brian Starks testified that he was doing a former prison dormitory mate a favor by setting up a large cocaine deal with Starks' friend who is an Oxnard drug dealer named "Chava" who also owns a mechanic shop.
Starks said Chava gave him the gun when he went to do the drug deal with Michael Wade and Darrell Babagay who were going to pay tens of thousands of dollars for the cocaine.
Prosecutor Maeve Fox told jurors that Starks, Terrance Deshun Morrow and Corey Larmar Johnson tried to rob Wade, Babagay and Kenneth Pecaro who traveled to Oxnard to buy 6.6 pounds of cocaine for $55,500. She said Starks is a small-time drug dealer who didn't have that amount of cocaine.
Starks is accused of striking Wade in the top of his head with the gun butt and fatally shooting the Northern California resident in the back twice with .40 caliber hollow-point bullets on Nov. 9, 2009. Pecaro was wounded in the hand during a struggle with Morrow.
Starks, Morrow and Johnson are on trial for murder during a robbery and conspiracy.
Pecaro, who knew Starks in prison, hooked him up with Wade and Babagy. Starks recruited Morrow and Johnson who were armed with a gun and rifle, according to court testimony
Starks said Morrow found a residence in the 1400 block of South E. Street where a drug user named Keith Allen lived. Starks said Morrow who was armed didn't know the details of the drug transaction.
"I don't know if Terry Morrow is a drug dealer," Starks testified. "I know he does music."
"You trust him enough to find you a place and you've got three kilos of cocaine and you don't tell him anything?" prosecutor Maeve Fox asked Starks, a former Channel Islands High School graduate.
Starks said Pecaro and Wade were only going to check out the cocaine. The part of the deal where money exchanges hands was going to be done later, Starks testified. He denied telling Morrow that he shot Wade in the buttocks.
Fox asked what were Morrow and Johnson supposed to do during the drug deal.
"Look tough," Starks replied.
Starks denied striking Wade on top of the head with the butt of his gun. He also denied that the plan was to walk Wade and Pecaro into the South E. Street resident. There an armed Morrow was waiting and Starks would be behind Pecaro and Wade to trap them. Later, Babagay would be called to bring the cash to buy the drugs.
"You didn't think anybody in that house would call the cops?" Fox asked.
"Somebody did call the cops," Starks replied.
Fox relentlessly questioned Starks about he phone calls he made shortly before and after the shooting of Wade along with asking him about his ties to Oxnard drug dealers, which Starks named.
During hours of testimony, Starks sometimes mocked Fox who would ask questions that were often laced with sarcasm in an attempt to make Starks' answers to jurors sound unbelievable, at times silly.
"Mr. Morrow brought a gun and (puts) it in his backpack. That fact is unknown to you?" Fox said.
"Yes," Starks replied.