-Bay City News Service
The woman accused of murdering her attorney boyfriend at his Oakland home in 2009 told a jury Wednesday that she fired the fatal shot that killed Michael Porcella, but that the gun went off accidentally.
Rennie Pratt, who worked as a barber in Walnut Creek and Dublin at the time of the shooting, told the court she was trying to unload Porcella's .45-caliber handgun at his home at 3740 Laguna Ave. the night of April 10, 2009, because their relationship was "volatile" and she was afraid he might use it to harm her.
Pratt said she spotted the gun when she went to Porcella's home to collect her belongings after attending an Oakland A's baseball game the night of the shooting and didn't know the attorney was on the porch outside the home.
Pratt, 29, currently being held without bail at the county jail, said the gun "kept getting jammed" as she was trying to remove the bullet and then "it went off."
"It was the loudest pop I can remember in my life," she told the court.
Pratt said she saw Procella lying on the front porch after the gun went off and that he didn't respond when she called his name.
"I was just really freaking out because he was bleeding," Pratt said. "I was just saying 'oh my God!'"
Porcella, a graduate of Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland and St. Mary's College in Moraga, earned his law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco. He was admitted to the State Bar on March 23, 2006, and
worked for the Robert Beles law firm in Oakland, which specializes in
Anne Beles, an attorney at the firm, said shortly after Porcella was killed that he had been laid off in the summer of 2008 for economic reasons but continued to work part-time for the firm and made appearances in court cases.
Oakland police said they had been called to Porcella's home several times to respond to domestic disputes involving the attorney and Pratt but that no arrests were made.
Prosecutor Jill Nerone expressed skepticism about Pratt's and the characterization that Porcella had been abusive - pointing out that two other rifles and another handgun were also in the home but that Pratt focused on the .45.
Testimony in Pratt's trial will conclude on Thursday. Nerone and defense attorney Brian Bloom will present their closing arguments on Monday.