Opening arguments began this morning for an Erie man accused of fatally shooting a man outside of a bar.
Ulysses Altland and his family were out celebrating a birthday at Wagner's bar on the night of March 3rd. A few witnesses say they tried to warn the parties involved to leave the bar before trouble started.
Twenty-three-year-old Ulysses Altland is accused of shooting and killing 40-year-old Brent Washington back on March 3rd outside of Wagner's Bar and Grille on West 8th Street.
During opening arguments, prosecutors for the Commonwealth, Robert Sambroke and Assistant District Attorney Matt Cullen, told the jury of 8 women and 4 men:
Ulysses Altland was looking for an excuse to hurt someone."
Cullen explained the Altland family was out at Wagner's celebrating their father's birthday.
Witnesses, who took the stand, explained that Altland had issues with a man named Dwayne Jenkins who was also at the bar that night.
Jenkins' sister Shakera Jones told the jury: "When my brother got there, I gave him my car keys and told him to leave so no trouble would start.
Cullen says that Jenkins left the bar, and called his aunt Andrea Jones and her boyfriend Brent Washington for support.
When the two showed up, Andrea Jones allegedly began physically assaulting Altland's girlfriend, Kelly Turk.
The defense explained: "Altland never fired until the fight broke out. My client and his family were minding their own business. Why did Andrea Jones come? To start trouble."
Both the defense and prosecution agree that Ulysses Altland did fire shots that night, but the defense is saying he had to protect his family.
Altland's sister, Monica also took the stand. Amid tears she expressed how she was also shot in the arm that night.
Shakera Jones in her testimony said: "I saw the defendant come in with a gun in his hand. I heard 4 shots and dropped to the floor. I looked around and saw Brent on the ground and watched the defendant come back in and kick him in the head."
The gun that police say Altland used to shoot Washington, was later recovered in his backyard under a pile of wood.