Fresno medical marijuana murder defendant testifies

FRESNO, Calif.

The case hinges on whether Phayvanh Dydouangphan was acting in self defense when he shot at the truck carrying thieves who had just stolen marijuana from his backyard.

The defendant testified the thieves had a gun pointed at him, but prosecutors say his story has changed.

Right after police detained Dydouangphan last September, the accused killer told officers in broken English, "They rob, so I shoot."

A large group of people had just left his backyard where they stole several marijuana plants Dydouangphan was growing legally as medicine.

Through a translator, the defendant explained what happened when he realized those thieves were in his yard.

"I ran inside the house to get the gun," he said.

"Why did you get the gun in the first place?" asked his attorney Franz Criego.

"I got scared. So many people."

Dydouangphan says he shot his gun in the air as a warning and the thieves took off in a van and a red pickup truck.

The truck turned in front of Dydouangphan's house and when it eventually stopped in Roeding Park, the window was shot out and Stanley Wallace was dead in the passenger seat.

"He was going to shoot me," Dydouangphan said through the interpreter. "He pointed a gun at me and the driver put on the brakes because he was going to shoot me."

No gun was ever found in the truck. Its occupants admit they removed some items -- like the pot plants they stole -- but they claim nobody had a weapon.

Prosecutors say Dydouangphan's story has changed about whether there was actually a gun and if it was inside or outside of the truck.

Even on the stand, he changed his testimony between the morning session and the afternoon session on which of the truck's windows was open. His attorney chalks it up to problems in translation.

Closing arguments in the case are expected Wednesday. After that, it'll be up to the jury to decide which story to believe.

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