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Abraham Roberts Takes Stand in Own Murder Trial

POLK COUNTY, Iowa  --  In Polk County court on Friday, Abraham Roberts took to the stand in his own first degree murder trial.

Roberts is charged with the shooting death of his girlfriend Agnes Yarlee last April. On Friday, when Roberts took the stand, the courtroom was filled with Yarlee's loved ones, who shed tears at times during the testimony.

"At that time I had a full grip of the gun, and I was trying to keep our body away from the gun, pushing our bodies towards the couch," Roberts said. He went on to explain that a verbal altercation turned into a brawl, which ended with him shooting Yarlee. Roberts also testified that he doesn't remember what happened after that or how he got to the Canadian border, where he was detained in May.

By having Roberts testify, the defense is trying to prove that a sudden, violent, irresistible act of passion caused Roberts to shoot.

Polk County Attorney John Sarcone says Roberts knowingly shot Yarlee.

"When the gun first shot went off she and I yelled, and I pushed her in response, and that's how she landed on the couch," Roberts said.

The defense is trying to prove involuntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, as opposed to the first degree murder charge that would result in a life sentence.

Court will resume on Tuesday.