EVERETT, Wash – Accused killer John Reed took the stand at his murder trial Friday and claimed self-defense, saying he had to kill Monique Paternaude and her husband, Patrick Shunn, because they had pulled out guns to apparently shoot him.
“Are these the final moments of my life, I thought,” Reed recalled during his testimony.
The couple’s murders rocked the Oso community back in 2016. Investigators say it all started as a property dispute. Reed told the jury Friday the incident was a fight for his life.
“The gun is pointing right at my face,” Reed said in court, claiming Shunn pointed a firearm at him. “So I reach out with my right hand and I try to push the gun over, as soon as I touched the back of his hand, the gun goes off.”
Reed says Paternaude and Shunn confronted him about repeatedly trespassing on the Oso property but the argument quickly turned violent, Reed claimed, and soon a fight began on the ground for Shunn's gun.
About 20 feet away, Reed said, Monique had also pulled her own firearm and began running toward the fight.
“I was able to maneuver the gun, pointed at her direction and, as soon as I could, I squeezed off three shots,” Reed said, adding that one of the bullets hit Monique in her head.
Reed then said her gun then flew out of her grasp and landed near her husband, and to keep Shunn from grabbing her firearm, Reed says he shot him in the head.
“And I just took his gun and went right over like that and shot him,” said Reed.
But prosecutors suggest Reed killed the couple over the property feud, hid their bodies in a remote section of woods and then fled to Mexico with his brother.
“What do the numbers 911 mean to you,” one prosecutor asked Reed during cross-examination.
“Emergency,” replied Reed.
During testimony on Thursday detectives said Reed made no attempt to call police the day the couple were killed or the days after. Prosecutors instead believe John Reed murdered the couple and tried to hide his crimes before fleeing the country.
“The plan is actually relatively simple,” prosecutors continued during testimony. “If you can make Patrick and Monique disappear, people may suspect you but they don’t have any proof, right?”
“Yes,” replied Reed.
John’s brother, Tony Reed, earlier pleaded guilty to helping him escape, and admitted to helping John hide the couple’s bodies in the mountains.
Closing arguments are scheduled to begin next week.