The sound of a single gunshot stung through the ebb and flow of Scottsdale’s nightlife one Friday night. So began the prosecutor’s opening statement Tuesday in the murder trial of former Arizona State University football player Loren Wade.
At 2:30 a.m. on March 26, 2005, after a night of dancing at Coyote Bay Night Club, Brandon Falkner was shot and died.
Did Wade purposefully shoot and kill Falkner that night, angry that Falkner had been hanging out with his girlfriend?
Twelve jurors will decide during the trial before Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Arthur Anderson.
The trial is predicted to last until June 22. Opening statements were given Tuesday.
Assistant County Attorney Juan Martinez said Wade, then 21 and packing a handgun, was angry and called his girlfriend at least 15 times in several minutes without response, went to a club where he found her with her friend and four men and shot Falkner, 25.
But Wade’s attorney, Ulises Ferragut, said: “This case is not about whether Wade was there or whether he had a gun. This case is about whether Wade was reckless and intentional in his actions, whether he committed premeditated murder.”
“Wade took out the gun. He went to punch Falkner with the gun in his hand,” Ferragut said. “The evidence will show (the murder) was an accident.”
Also on Tuesday, two Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies testified to what they saw, and didn’t see, while working off-duty as nightclub security. Each claimed to have seen Wade confront the driver of a car just before they heard a gunshot, but neither could see Wade’s hands during the incident.