Michiel Oakes claims it was self-defense. In dramatic courtroom testimony yesterday, Oakes provided an answer to the question, "What happened to Mark Stover, the dog trainer to the stars who disappeared last October?" But Oakes' claims that it was either him or Stover feel a little hinky considering some of the evidence against him.
Stover, who trained dogs owned by Ichiro Suzuki and Eddie Vedder, was once married to Linda Opdycke. After they divorced, he was convicted of stalking his ex-wife after a neighbor spotted him rooting through her garbage.
Mark Stover's clients included celebrities like Ichiro Suzuki and Eddie Vedder.
Oakes met Opdycke when he helped her buy a guard dog. The two began dating soon after. And that's when Oakes says Stover started directing some of his anger towards him and his family.
Oakes says Stover first accosted him outside of a Costco. He claims the dog trainer was obsessed with some old wedding photos that he said Opdycke still had. He also allegedly threatened to harm Oakes' kids if he couldn't produce the photos.
It was those same photos, says Oakes, that were the reason for his visit to Stovers' home on October 28, 2009. When Stover learned that he'd come over without them, Oakes says he got angry and pointed a gun at him.
Oakes claims that in the ensuing tussle the gun went off twice. Once striking Oakes in the bulletproof vest he had worn for protection and the next shot hitting and killing Stover.
Oakes claims he then freaked out. Thinking the police wouldn't believe his story, he says he dumped the murder weapon along with Stover's body. But prosecutors think they have reason to believe Oakes is lying.
For one, the only shell casings found on the scene belong to Oakes' gun, not Stover's. For another, shortly before the shooting, Oakes was caught on Walmart surveillance tape buying anchor line and weights.
Oakes' lawyer has a pretty convoluted explanation for these damning purchases. Let's call it the My Client Is Jason Bourne Defense. He says Oakes was simply trying to protect himself by buying supplies that might help him make a daring escape from Stover's home to a nearby water tower.
The prosecution is expected to have its turn with Oakes today. We'll let you know what comes of his testimony. In the meantime, check out video from the trial below, including Oakes' courtroom demonstration of how he subdued Stover.