BRENTWOOD — An Epping man exchanged dozens of angry texts with a romantic rival before driving to his home in December 2011 and shooting him with a 20-gauge shotgun because "he was sick and tired of sharing the same woman," prosecutors said.
The woman would live with the alleged victim, Shawn Eaton, on weekdays and spend weekends with her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Tyler Locascio, 25, who went on trial Monday in Rockingham County Superior Court for second-degree assault.
Locascio is accused of driving to Eaton's home on the night of Dec. 11, 2011 and firing a round of birdshot at him while he stood in his driveway talking to their mutual love interest, Jackie Letourneau, of Epping, prosecutors said.
"It was really no mystery where she was going on weekends," Assistant County Attorney Jerome Blanchard said during opening statements. "She would spend the weeks with Shawn and weekends with Tyler."
Defense lawyer Andrew Cotrupi told jurors on Monday that Eaton lied to police about being able to see his assailant in the pitch-black dark because there were no street lights on the roadway. Cotrupi said Eaton and two other state witnesses had credibility problems because of their criminal records.But Cotrupi acknowledged that a lot of the trial will focus on the words and actions of Letourneau.
Locascio and Eaton lived less than two miles away from each other in Epping.
Tensions between the men had escalated for months with exchanges of threatening texts and a face-to-face confrontation in 2011 when they both visited Letourneau at a local hospital at the same time, according to Blanchard.About an hour prior to the shooting on Dec. 11, 2011, Letourneau exchanged about 35 texts messages with Eaton while she was with Locascio, Blanchard said. For the next hour, the men exchanged heated phone calls and text messages. Blanchard said that Locascio told Eaton that he would shoot him with a shotgun, and that "I have an excavator for a reason."
Cotrupi insisted that the talk was mostly bravado and the men were talking about a fist fight. He said that Locascio's cousin, who was in the truck at the time of the shooting, could have been the gunman.
Eaton's uncle, Brian Souther, testified that he heard one of the phone conversations his nephew had with Locascio over speakerphone before the shooting. Eaton was living with his uncle at the time.
Souther testified that the conversation went from talk about exchanging blows to Locascio saying, "How about I just jam a shotgun in your face."
At that point, Souther testified, he told the men to go to a local parking lot or somewhere else to sort out their problems.
"I don't know Jackie that good, but I certainly didn't need her problems that night and I don't need them now," Souther told the jury.
Moments after the shooting, Letourneau had fled the scene, but then drove by Eaton's house apparently angry that someone had called the police, according to court testimony.
Jennifer Erickson, 33, of Dracut, Mass. who was dating Eaton's uncle at the time, testified that her cell phone rang and Letourneau was on the other end of the line screaming.
"She seemed aggravated and mad about the fact that police were called," Erickson testified.