Talking to police moments after learning that his 15-year-old daughter Alexus had been fatally shot, William Postorino didn’t want to believe that a man he had considered a friend for more than 30 years could be the killer.
“I hated the idea of thinking it was him,” Postorino testified Tuesday in the death penalty trial of 41-year-old Norman Belcher, who had known the girl since she was an infant.
The father initially believed that a sometimes abusive man who had dated Ashley Riley, who was in Postorino’s home at the time, had broken in and killed Alexus.
That man was a “time bomb” and a “loose cannon,” he told police.
“I said that two hours (after) me losing the love of my life,” Postorino said while being cross-examined by defense attorney Robert Draskovich. “My mind was racing.”
But on Tuesday, six years to the day his daughter was killed, Postorino told jurors that his mind had quickly changed.
Toward the end of his interview with police in December 2010, he asked detectives whether Riley had been killed.
They told him she was alive.
“And when you found out that Ashley wasn’t dead?” prosecutor Jacqueline Bluth said.
Postorino responded, “My suspicion of (her boyfriend) was out the window.”
Belcher faces seven felony charges, including one count of murder with a deadly weapon and two counts of armed robbery related to the Dec. 6, 2010, attack.
Authorities have said Belcher was furious over $450 he thought Postorino owed him for forged drug prescriptions. In the days leading up to the killing, Belcher sent threatening text messages.
“I’m actually hoping that you don’t pay me, because I then feel like I’m following protocol,” he typed. “So $450 or war. An element of surprise.”
While questioning Postorino, Draskovich tried to play down the dispute as having been resolved.
Postorino testified that his home had been burglarized five days before the slaying, and he confronted Belcher about it.
Belcher denied being the burglar and responded: “What would I take from you that’s more valuable than what you have?”
Postorino’s roommate, Nicholas Brabham, was inside the home in the 9700 block of Villa Lorena Avenue when Alexus was killed. He identified Belcher, also known as Norman Bates, as the gunman.
Investigators linked Belcher to a white 2009 Nissan Versa that a neighbor had seen a man loading up before speeding off.
The Nissan, which Belcher had rented, was found burning in a parking lot near Craig Road and Lamb Boulevard, not far from the defendant’s apartment.
A few months beforehand, Belcher had left prison, where he had been sent for a voluntary manslaughter conviction in a 2003 homicide case.
Contact David Ferrara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.