FALLON - A jealous lover or a victim.
It's the decision facing Keith Alan Thomas of Carson City as he sat during opening arguments of his trial on Monday in the Tenth Judicial District Court. He is accused of battery with a deadly weapon causing substantial bodily harm and assault with a deadly weapon.
The trial continues at 1 p.m. today and is expected to run through Friday.
Thomas was arrested in August 2011 after shooting Michael Gallardo of Fernley after dispute over the two men's relationship with Savannah Kelley.
Kelley, who worked for Thomas at Carpet Connection, had an intimate relationship with both men, according to Thomas' attorney Steve Evenson.
Thomas shot Gallardo in the abdomen with a Sig Sauer pistol, a fact Evenson does not deny, on Aug. 16, 2011 at the business. Evenson, however, said the evidence will prove his client acted in self-defense and Gallardo was in a rage over Thomas' relationship with Kelley.
Churchill County Chief Deputy District Attorney Lane Mills, though, said Gallardo was the victim as Thomas shot Gallardo from 180 feet away, which is the source of the self-defense claim.
In addition, Mills said Thomas' reaction after shooting as the Carson City man ran up to Gallardo and screamed, "I'll blow your (expletive) brains out."
Mills said Thomas saw Gallardo coming to the business, went to his vehicle and retrieved the weapon. Soon after, Thomas fired the shot and then ran over to Gallardo.
Evenson, meanwhile, painted Gallardo as a man in a rage and a former Marine and mixed-martial arts fighter, with a background in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and grappling, who was focused on hurting Thomas. In addition, Evenson said Gallardo threatened another Carpet Connection employee over the phone about his relationship with Kelley.
Evenson also said the state cannot prove the distance of the shot and words exchanged after the shooting.
Gallardo, according to Evenson, also displayed "stalking" behavior including on the day of the shooting. Evenson said Gallardo jumped Kelley's fence in the morning to "peak in at what she was doing." Kelley was trying to avoid him, the attorney added.
Gallardo then followed Kelley, who was in Fallon running errands, westbound to the business at 3333 Reno Highway.
Kelley then blocked Gallardo's vehicle, while Thomas called 911, and asked Gallardo to leave the business. Evenson said it showed Gallardo was following Kelley before the shooting.
Evenson also presented three text messages from Gallardo to Thomas, which Evenson said threatened his client.
The messages said: "Be a man. Meet me somewhere so I can beat you're fat (behind)."
The second read: "I will find you."
And third stated: "What's wrong, scared? Don't worry, I will find you at work."
As the tension built at the business, Evenson said Thomas told Gallardo to stop moving toward him or Thomas would shoot. According to both attorneys, Gallardo said, "shoot me."
Mills said Thomas had the weapon, while Gallardo was unarmed, which shows Thomas was intent on hurting Gallardo.
Evenson, though, countered and said Gallardo told police he was not prepared for a gun.