A prosecutor said a youth minister who blamed the 1985 murder of his girlfriend on intruders actually shot her himself because she was about to end their relationship.
But the defense lawyer for Louis King Jr. said in his opening statement Wednesday that King is not a killer and doesn’t know who murdered 21-year-old Gayla Tyler.
King, 49, is charged with killing Tyler in her Jamaica Plain apartment with a shot to the neck. But he wasn’t indicted until five years ago, after police learned she was planning to leave him.
“There have been unchangeable facts that establish a truth that will speak to you over 20 years,” Assistant District Attorney Josh Wall told the jury.
New York attorney, Arkady Bukh, said Tyler and King’s relationship wasn’t so troubled that it would drive him to murder. On the contrary, he said, witnesses will describe the goodwill between the couple.
In 2001, a judge threw out the original indictment against King and blasted Suffolk County prosecutors for failing to reveal that a key witness had changed her story.
The following year, King was indicted again on a second-degree murder charge. He pleaded innocent and was freed on $100,000 cash bail raised by his family, friends, and members of his Unitarian Universalist church in Roxbury.
After the killing, King told police “two Puerto Ricans” broke into the apartment and shot Tyler before dropping the gun and fleeing, Wall said.
He said the evidence against King includes a 911 call he made after Tyler was shot in which he allegedly asks for an ambulance, but doesn’t ask for police and doesn’t give his name.
King was stopped by police after the shooting and the gun was found in his car, Wall said, though police have since destroyed the gun. King told them he ran to his car with the gun and tried to get away because he had a criminal record and didn’t want to be caught with a gun, according to the prosecutor.
Doyle said King made an “indefensible” decision when he ran from the apartment, leaving Tyler to die. But he said the fact that Tyler was shot just once shows that her killer wasn’t angry with her, as a jilted lover would be.