Andre Hudson was shot and died two days after Christmas 2012 during a drug-related deal, Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson told an eight-man, six-woman jury Tuesday afternoon.
Richardson ended his opening statement telling the jurors he'll ask them at the end of the case to find Calvin Hutson guilty of second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action for Hudson's death.
But Public Defender Kevin Lorenz told jurors they should find Hutson not guilty; that they would hear evidence that Hudson fired the first shot, wounding Hutson.
Hutson, 36, St. Louis, faces up to life in prison if the jury convicts him of the second-degree murder charge.
Among Tuesday's witnesses was Justin Beasley, 22, who already is serving a 10-year sentence after pleading guilty to the same three charges.
Beasley and Assistant Public Defender Rick French told Circuit Judge Dan Green last year the guilty plea was part of an agreement with Richardson, for 10-year sentences on the murder and robbery charges, and three years for armed criminal action - all to be served at the same time.
Beasley told the jury that Hutson planned the drug deal as a robbery, but didn't identify the intended victim.
Beasley got a gun from a friend so Hutson could have it during the drug deal.
Beasley testified he drove Hutson to meet Hudson, who they followed to a nearby parking lot. There Hudson got into Beasley's vehicle.
Beasley said he was listening to music through earphones, and wasn't paying attention to the discussion between Hudson, sitting in the back seat, and Hutson in the front - until he was surprised by gunshots.
"There were five-to-six shots within seconds," Beasley testified Tuesday.
He said Hutson, also wounded, fled the car, and Beasley ran, too, after seeing that Hudson appeared to be dead.
When he got to his mother's home on Monroe Street, Beasley said, he changed clothes and told his stepfather his car had been carjacked - the same story he initially told police.
But Lorenz asked Beasley if anybody other than police officers had used the word "robbery."
Beasley said Hutson had used the word "lick" and agreed the slang term has several meanings.
Still, Beasley told Richardson, he understood Hutson was talking about a robbery.
Hudson's wife, Marcy, was Richardson's first witness, telling jurors she drove Andre and another man - David "Jack" Evans - into Jefferson City from their Holts Summit home, and that she suspected Andre was involved in some kind of drug deal, because of what she heard him say on numerous phone calls he had received during the drive.
Andre had said "we were going to meet someone who was giving us some money," Marcy testified. "The original plan was to meet at the Capitol Plaza, but someone kept calling, and the place was changed to Zesto."
She stayed in the Suburban while Hudson switched vehicles, testifying that she "could see the car shaking" and asked Evans, "Are they fighting?'"
Moments later, she heard "four or five shots," she said. "It happened so fast."
She saw a man run from the car and followed him - only to have him point a gun at her a couple of blocks from the crime scene.
Marcy Hudson said she had not met Hutson before that night, but identified him in a police picture line-up and in the courtroom.
She also called 911 right after the shots were fired, telling police, "My husband has been shot," and staying on that call until she was interviewed by one of the officers answering the call.
One policeman found Andre Hudson slumped over in the back seat of the Dodge, his body still warm but with no pulse, no breathing, no signs of life.
Calvin Hutson was found nearby, crawling into West Dunklin Street near Broadway.
Another officer, following a trail of blood drops, found a small area of carpet lying outside that had more blood on it - and a handgun and two bags of marijuana hidden underneath the carpet.
Richardson showed the jury a number of color pictures showing Hutson's and Hudson's wounds, Hudson's body in the back of the car and the bloody carpet section.
As he sent them home for the night Tuesday, Green told the jury he's "committed to trying to get this finished in three days."
The trial's second day begins today at 8:30 a.m.