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Leonard Price swiped some change from the top of a bedroom dresser and started into the living room when a voice called out.
"What are you doing in my house?"
Those were the last words 77-year-old David Boose said before he was shot to death during a burglary three years ago in his rural Lecompton home.
The gunshot came from a pistol fired by Allen Dale Smith, according to Price, 46, who described how Boose, a retired jeweler, died during testimony Wednesday in Douglas County District Court.
Smith, 35, is on trial for felony murder and aggravated burglary in connection with Boose's death on April 29, 2005. Prosecutors say Price and Smith were accomplices. Price has already pleaded guilty to felony murder under a plea agreement reached with the Douglas County District Attorney's office. Price, also known as "Battle Ax," testified on Wednesday while dressed in red jail clothing and wearing ankle cuffs.
Both Price and Smith, who are cousins, are serving prison sentences for a burglary and shooting in Pottawatomie County that occurred a few days after Boose's death.
Smith's attorney, Tom Bartee, said in opening arguments earlier this week that his client has an alibi for the Boose killing and questioned Price's credibility.
But Price testified that he and Smith were driving around looking for houses to burglarize that day. They didn't think anyone was at the Boose residence. Price said he entered the house through an open side door. He said he called out to see if anyone was home and got no answer.
After the shooting, Price said, he found Smith in the kitchen with the pistol. Price said he told Smith they needed to leave. Smith argued, Price said.
"Leonard, we can have anything we want," Price quoted Smith as saying.
Price said he went on to the car and Smith soon joined him. Price said he drove off and while crossing a bridge Smith tossed the gun into the water. After dropping off Smith in Topeka, Price drove to a bar.
"I had a couple of drinks," he said.
While he was in the Pottawatomie jail, Price said he decided to cooperate with Douglas County detectives investigating the Boose homicide. The incident bothered him, he said. Investigators were already focusing on Smith as the key suspect based on his own statements, prosecutors have said.
Price, who said he grew up in a family that taught him not to talk to police, is serving 13 years for the Pottawatomie County convictions. Under the plea agreement with Douglas County, prosecutors will recommend to the judge that he serve that sentence concurrently with his sentence in the Boose case. His sentencing is set for Aug. 20. He is looking at 20 years to life in prison.