WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Jurors on Monday watched the videotaped statement given by a 13-year-old boy accused of murdering his favorite middle school teacher.
Nathaniel Brazill, now 14, gave the statement to police several hours after the May 26 shooting.
Prosecutors say that on the tape, Brazill admitted he shot English teacher Barry Grunow but said it was an accident.
A key part of the defense has been that the shooting was an accident caused by a cheap pistol in the hands of an inexperienced teen who didn't meant to shoot.
Bazill is expected to take the stand before his trial wraps up this week.
The seventh-grader, angry over being sent home by a school counselor at 1 p.m. on the last day of school for throwing a water balloon, returned to campus on his bike about two hours later. In his pocket was a palm-sized .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol.
He went to Grunow's classroom and asked to see two girls inside. When the teacher refused, Brazill extended his arms and pointed the gun for four seconds before firing once. Grunow, 35, collapsed in the doorway near several of his students.
Prosecutors say Brazill deliberately killed Grunow because he was angry about a failing grade he was receiving from the teacher and because he was mad about being sent home, although it was a counselor who suspended him.
But defense attorneys say the teen didn't know about the failing grade. They say he pointed the gun at Grunow and pulled the slide only to scare the teacher into letting him talk to the girls, but the handgun went off unintentionally. They say he thought the safety was on.
Brazill, charged as an adult, will be sentenced to mandatory life in prison without parole if convicted of first-degree murder. He also could be found guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter, which carry lighter sentences.
The boy's family rejected a plea deal of 25 years in prison in exchange for Brazill pleading guilty to second-degree murder.