SACRAMENTO -- It was supposed to be a fun night among friends, celebrating a home-cooked meal in a new house. Instead, it turned into the year's 21st homicide under investigation by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.
Robert Gene McCormack's choices Thursday lit up his Foothill Farms court with a dizzying array of blue and red police lights.
"So I went into my bedroom and I got my pistol," McCormack said, describing what happened that evening.
McCormack is now reliving what led him to pull the trigger of a 9mm, taking the life of a man he played baseball with when he was 8 years old.
"I'm trying to recollect, 'cause I was drunk, too," he explained.
Evidence of hours of such partying with his girlfriend of three years and his family friend was piled up in front the home on Monteagle Court.
McCormack says he still doesn't know what turned a good evening so bad.
"I was in the restroom, and I heard hollering and screaming out front in my yard," he remembered. "I opened up the door. He had my girlfriend pinned up against the truck."
From behind jailhouse glass, McCormack says he picked up a baseball bat and hit his 43-year-old victim hard in the ribs—all trying to defend a woman he himself went to jail for hitting back in October.
That swing slowed the confrontation, but didn't end it.
"He started hollering and screaming again, and I locked my [screen door] and he was trying to kick it in and punch it in and kick it in," McCormack continued.
And when that man, who hasn't been identified by the coroner, yet, ran to get something from his truck things got worse.
"I remember opening the door and me pointing the gun at him and him just charging me. So in about eight feet, I discharged all of my rounds, and he fell right in front of me," McCormack said.
Neighbors also remember vividly what they heard that night.
"He got shot 10 times in a row. It's all about jealously and rage," said Al Winter, a neighbor in Monteagle Court.
Winter says he's watched McCormack's girlfriend, Shirley, play him and her more than decade-old-ex against each other. Since the victim's recent divorce, he'd started hanging out with Shirley and her new love.
McCormack says he had suspicions that Shirley was pursuing him.
"In my head, yes. But she alleviated that stress and tried to explain no," he said.
McCormack received his first strike under California's three strike system for assault with a deadly weapon on a man who was flirting with an old girlfriend back in 1998.
After Thursday's shooting, and before deputies arrived, he said he went to his back porch and called his boss to say he wouldn't be in for his next shift.
He then called his mom to tell her he loved her.