Bradenton man’s widow testifies for defense at accused killer’s trial

Shawn McCoy
Shawn McCoy

The jury in the trial of a Bradenton man charged with the July 2014 fatal shooting of his then-girlfriend’s estranged husband heard testimony from witnesses called by the defense Wednesday.

Jared Lakes is charged with manslaughter with a firearm in the July 12, 2014, fatal shooting of Shawn McCoy, 28. Lakes has been out on a $200,000 bond while he awaits the outcome of his trial.

Earlier this year, presiding Circuit Judge Deno Economou denied Lakes’ attempt to have the charge dismissed based on Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.

If convicted, Lakes faces up to 30 years in prison.

On Wednesday morning, after the testimony of Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Russell Vega, the state rested its case against Lakes.

Defense attorney Peter Lombardo’s motion for an acquittal was then denied.

Ashley Brining, McCoy’s estranged wife, took the stand for the defense in recalling the moments leading up to McCoy’s death.

“He was clearly angry,” Brining recalled.

Despite a restraining order against him, McCoy came inside her bedroom when he dropped off their four children.

She was holding her brother’s baby and gave the baby to another family member, she said.

“He came up to me and started yelling in my face,” Brining testified. “I could feel his breath on my nose.”

She then detailed how Lakes, her live-in boyfriend at the time, demanded McCoy leave.

“They started a little tussle in the bedroom and it moved into the hallway,” she said

During the struggle, Brining said she lost her eyeglasses. She cannot see without them, she said.

“I don’t remember hearing the gunshot,” Brining later said.

McCoy’s sister-in-law also took the stand for the defense.

Serena Brining detailed an altercation in December 2013 for which McCoy was still facing charges for at the time of his death.

“I was holding the knife to Shawn’s throat,” she told Lombardo. “He was holding a cinder block over my head.”

Assistant State Attorney Justin Phillips asked her later, however, if she was afraid of McCoy that day.

“No. Had I not had a knife, I would be,” she answered. “I had a big butcher knife in my hand.”

The fight didn’t last long, she said. McCoy left after her sister, who had called their sister-in-law, announced their brother was on the way over. McCoy was afraid of their brother, she said.

Closing arguments will be made by attorneys for both sides Thursday morning and then hand the case over to the jury to decide.

Jessica De Leon: 941-745-7049, @JDeLeon1012