Nikki Redmond took the stand in her murder trial on Friday. It was after 3:30 p.m. when the former Miss Savannah was sworn in to tell her side of the story.
Redmond told jurors she met Kevin Shorter on December 21, 2000. She said the relationship quickly became serious. "Kevin and I really decided to become an exclusive couple in March 2001," she explained.
At first everything went well, but Redmond says by Thanksgiving they started having problems. Redmond claims they were arguing about a man she used to date.
"He began yelling, screaming at me in the car," she said. "He slapped me in the car."
Redmond said that was the first time he was physically violent, but it wasn't the last. "I was slapped off of my car at my mother's house," she added.
Redmond said the violence continued, but she didn't want to break off the relationship. "I loved Kevin," she explained, wiping away tears, "and I started to accept that was part of his personality. I wanted to help him change."
Redmond said he always apologized. She believed he was committed to her. She said she and Shorter got engaged in September 2003.
Redmond's attorney, Michael Schiavone, opened a small box, handed it to her and asked if she recognized the contents. Redmond said she could. "It is... one is my engagement ring," she told jurors, "the other is a band that both Kevin and I had."
She said she knew about Rachel Hall, but only as Kevin's "former" girlfriend. "She was extremely close to Kevin's mother, Redmond said. "He told me they had dated, but they didn't anymore."
She also told the jury that when she thought someone was stalking her in 2003, she decided to get a gun. Shorter picked it out and even paid for it.
"Kevin deposited $590 into my bank account for me to buy the gun," she said, "and I bought it with my debit card."
Redmond said she had never fired a gun before, but Shorter showed her how. "The only thing I was told about the gun by the person who told me how to shoot the gun, which was Kevin, was put the clip in it, take the safety off, pull the trigger," she said. "There's already a bullet in it. That's all you have to do."