Fresno man accused of killing boss took the stand in his own defense

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A man on trial for the murder of his former boss took the stand in his own defense Tuesday.

A man on trial for the murder of his former boss took the stand in his own defense Tuesday. But his testimony may not have helped his case. Deputies believe Rafael Apolinar murdered his boss because he was angry over being fired.

Apolinar tried to claim he did not shoot and kill James Blanco. He did admit to planning the shooting but claimed he backed out at the last minute and let his companion do the job.

Under questioning by the prosecutor Apolinar was asked if he planned to shoot Blanco. He responded, "To an extent, yes. I was fairly intoxicated. I did not know what I was doing at all times."

Apolinar was angry at Blanco because he had fired him from his job at a local mattress factory. He admitted he planned to shoot Blanco, but said his intention was to wound him. He said, "I didn't want to kill him."

Apolinar claims after arriving at Blanco's house he changed his mind, but his friend, Andrew Macias, decided to do the job.

Blanco was shot through his bathroom window as he took a shower.

Apolinar explained why Macias would have done the shooting, saying as gang members, "We are supposed to be there for each other, back each other up in any situation."

Macias has not been in court, but cooperated with authorities and was not charged in this case.

James Blanco's family has been in the courtroom for the trial.

His brother Ricardo Garcia said, "We are just glad we are in the courtroom. Its been five long years and we are finally at the point where we get to hear the verdict from the jury and get closure. It's something we've sought for the last five years."

Closing arguments in the case are expected to be heard on Thursday and then the fate of Apolinar will be in the hands of the jury.

Apolinar could get from 50 years to life if convicted.

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