WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A prosecutor grilled Nathaniel Brazill on Wednesday on the actions the boy took before the fatal shooting of his favorite teacher.
"I want you to show the members of the jury how you shot Mr. Grunow between the eyes, unintentionally, can you show us?" prosecutor Marc Shiner asked as he handed Brazill the palm-sized .25-calibre handgun the schoolboy brought to school the last day of school last year.
"I held the gun up in both my hands, like this," the middle school student said.
"Did you pull the slide back on the gun?" Shiner asked, referring to an action that puts a bullet in the gun's chamber.
"You wanted to make sure a live round was in there?" Shiner asked.
"That was why you pulled the slide back, prior to shooting a man between the eyes, right?"
The 14-year-old boy spoke in the same monotone he spoke in Tuesday, when he testified under defense questioning, giving similar statements to those he made to police in the hours after the shooting death of Barry Grunow, 35.
"I thought about it this way: If you have a million dollars and I point the gun at you ... are you going to keep the million dollars or are you going to give it to me?" Brazill, now 14, said.
But the shooting, he said, was an accident. Brazill said he thought the gun's safety was on and he never meant to harm Grunow, whom he described as "a nice guy, a good teacher."
If convicted of first-degree murder, he faces life in prison without parole. Brazill also could be found guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter, which carry lighter sentences.
The May 26, 2000, shooting happened about two hours after Brazill, then 13, was suspended from Lake Worth Middle School for throwing a water balloon. He said he rode his bike back to campus because he wanted to say goodbye to two friends.
He said he went to Grunow's classroom and asked him if the two girls could come out into the hallway to speak to him privately. Grunow said no, and told Brazill to go back to class, the boy said.
Brazill said the gun fired immediately after Grunow told him to get the gun out of his face. He said his eyes started getting blurry and he later realized they were tearing.
"Ten-million-dollar question, why did you take the gun?" defense attorney Robert Udell asked.
"I was just carrying it," Brazill said, repeating what he told police within several hours of the shooting. "I didn't plan on using it."
Grunow gave Brazill an F in the final grading period, but the boy said he wasn't angry about the mark. The prosecution contends the boy was irate over the suspension and the failing grade.
Udell also questioned Brazill about a letter addressed to Grunow, which police found in the boy's room and was read in court last week. Brazill wrote that his friends and teachers were picking on him and that he was considering suicide.
Brazill said it was a fictional letter that he began writing for an assignment. Most everything in the letter was "a joke," he said.
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