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Man on trial in fatal shooting testifies
By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- Ever since Mark Hernandez shot and killed 27-year-old Daniel Nuez last year at a baby shower, people have questioned, why?
Hernandez took the stand Tuesday and told the jury he had a terrible upbringing. He said he was often left alone. When he got older, he said he lived with his depressed mother and cared for her.
Hernandez said it left him stressed, so he turned to alcohol for relief.
"I was getting very addicted to alcohol. I like the taste of it. I couldn't stop," said Hernandez.
Hernandez said he then started using drugs.
After Hernandez shot and killed Nuez, a father or four, investigators tested his blood and urine for drugs.
They found meth, cocaine and marijuana in his system.
"I think the combination of all these substances was causing him to lose touch with reality," said Dr. James Schutte.
Shutte, a psychologist, said taking meth can lead to paranoia, something Hernandez showed clear signs of.
Hernandez said he thought someone was after him.
"I was seeing shadows outside my windows, outside of my house. I assumed it was people outside," said Hernandez.
Hernandez said he became so paranoid; he purchased a handgun for protection.
On June 2, 2012, Hernandez said he brought that handgun to a baby shower. Hernandez told the jury, while at the baby shower, he felt threatened and shot Nuez.
"I really thought I was in trouble. I thought I was in danger. I thought my life was in danger so I protected myself," said Hernandez.
Now realizing what he did, he told the jury, "I want to say sorry. I'm so sorry that I've caused so much pain and suffering. I'm sorry."
Shutte examined Hernandez twice after the shooting. He told the jury Hernandez has an extremely low IQ.
Testimony also revealed Hernandez attempted suicide not too long before he killed Nuez.
Hernandez pleaded guilty to the crime Friday.
He could face anywhere from five to 99 years in prison.