Just before deliberations began, Joshua Alberts told the jury Wednesday in his first-degree murder trial that he just wanted to speak to his girlfriend’s ex-husband and brought a gun when he confronted Joshua Warren only to use as a last resort.
“I felt more protected with it,” Alberts said.
“I had it in my head that if I had to, I would shoot him once (in the belly),” Alberts said, testifying for a second day.
Alberts flagged down Warren as Warren drove into the Whispering Pines apartment complex off Ustrick Road, where his ex-wife lived, to pick up their two sons last Feb. 20. Alberts said that as he walked toward Warren’s car and Warren rolled down his window and reached toward his seat belt latch, the man yelled an expletive.
“I took a step back, took a shooter’s stance and fired,” he said. “I pulled the trigger. I don’t know what happened. I kept pulling the trigger.”
When he finished, Alberts had fired 14 hollow-point rounds, 12 of which struck Warren in the face, head and torso. He died on the spot.
In closing statements, defense attorney Eric Rolfson said Alberts acted in self-defense, fearing that Warren was moving to get out of his car.
“It was in the heat of passion” that Alberts fired his gun, Lorello said.
Deputy Ada County Prosecutor Jeff White scoffed at the idea. He said Alberts executed Warren.
“There is no doubt. There is no question — reasonable or otherwise — that he acted in self-defense,” White said. “You don’t set to intentionally provoke a situation to put yourself into, to then try and goad the other person into doing something that would then make you defend yourself.”
The jury began deliberating at about 3:30 p.m.
Briana Bliss, Alberts’ girlfriend at the time of the shooting and Warren’s ex-wife, said she and Alberts had a big fight a week before the shooting — on Valentine’s Day. They went out to dinner and then drank at a bar.
Alberts said she told him that she still had feelings for Warren and wanted to be with him. They spoke about it later, she said.
“He was mad and he said he was disgusted with me and that he didn’t think he could ever forgive me,” Bliss said.
Alberts said he had planned to take Bliss to Maui on a vacation and that was the reason Warren was coming to pick up the boys. Alberts said he and Bliss had argued several times in recent weeks and he didn’t tell her he had decided to cancel the trip.
Prosecutors suggested the trip was a ruse to lure Warren to the apartment complex so Alberts could shoot him. Alberts denied that.
Bliss said she bought summer clothes, luggage, and got her hair and nails done in anticipation of the trip. She said Alberts even told her which hotel they were visiting.