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Defendant Takes Stand In N.J. Church Shooting Trial

Joseph Pallipurath Insists He Didn't Mean To Do It
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Joseph Pallipurath

Joseph Pallipurath (Credit: CBS 2)

Christine Sloan thumbnail Christine Sloan
Emmy-award winning journalist Christine Sloan joined CBS 2 News in...
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PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Loved ones heard painful testimony on Thursday in the case of a church shooting rampage.

The accused gunman took the stand, telling the court what sparked his outrage.

As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reports, his words proved to be too much for one of the victim’s relatives.

Joseph Pallipurath is on trial for killing two people, including his estranged wife, 24-year-old Reshma James, inside a Clifton church back in 2008.

In court Thursday Pallipurath told a jury he didn’t mean to it, saying one of the people he’s charged with murdering, Dennis John Mallosseril, got in his way.

“I took my gun out. I don’t know if I cocked it or not. I hold my gun up, pointed it toward Dennis. That’s … and he pushed it. The gun went off. I saw my wife dropped to the ground,” Pallipurath said.

Pallipurath said he then blacked out. His testimony had Mallosseril’s mother crying in court. She had to be carried out. She later told Sloan she couldn’t believe Pallipurath blamed her son, who tried to help.

“I will ask him, ‘why did you do it to my son? Why did you do it to my son?’” Aley John said. “Everything was shattered in one second. One minute, everything gone.”

Family members told Sloan that James had left Pallipurath after months of abuse, a fact learned in a confession after the shootings that also left in another person in a wheelchair.

Pallipurath’s story, however, was different from what the jury heard Thursday.

“I swear if I had a (expletive) machine gun I would have killed everybody. I would have massacred the whole (expletive) church. That’s how much anger I had,” he said on a recording.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday. The jury could start deciding Pallipurath’s fate as early as Tuesday. If found guilty, Pallipurath could face life in prison without parole.

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