NEWARK, N.J. (CBS 2) — There was drama in a New Jersey courtroom where a man is standing trial accused of killing his ex-girlfriend in front of their children.

On Thursday his young daughter’s gripping statement to police was played in court.

Kenneth Duckett sat close to the monitor in the courtroom to see a taped statement his daughter, Essence, gave police moments after prosecutors said he shot and killed her mother, reports CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

Essence: “She got shot.”

Officer: “Do you know who she got shot by?”

Essence: “I believe it was my dad.”

Officer: “Why do you say that?”

Essence: “’Cause his truck was outside.”

CBS 2 wasn’t allowed to roll video of the girl because she was only 11 years old at the time of the crime.

Witnesses said Duckett walked into the Montclair YMCA and shot his ex-girlfriend, Monica Paul, in front of other parents watching their kids take swim classes. Essence’s brother, Noah, was also in the pool.

“He said, ‘you think you’re tough? You think you’re tough?’ He pulled out a gun and shot her,” a witness said.

Officer: “Do you remember telling one of the officers you saw your dad inside?”

Essence: “I am not sure it was my dad. I think my mom said ‘why are you here?’ … something like that. He said … the man said … ‘to see my son.’”

The defense has not denied Duckett pulled the trigger but said he snapped when his girlfriend told him his son wasn’t his, something his attorneys are hoping will get get him a lesser seentence.

That one word the defense hopes could help Duckett get a lesser sentence for manslaughter.

The case resumes Tuesday. Duckett is facing a first-degree murder charge which carries a life sentence.

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