Mares, 24, of Longmont is accused of fatal Nov. 4 shooting Thomas Bashline, 42, of Frederick, who worked as a part-time a trainer for the Harlem Globetrotters, then stealing his truck. Mares is on trial for premeditated murder and aggravated motor vehicle theft in Weld County District Court, The Denver Post reported Wednesday.
Attorneys opened the trial Wednesday. Prosecutors say Mares shot and killed Bashline in Bashline's bedroom after a planned sexual encounter between the two men dissolved into argument.
In court, defense attorney Justin Reed said his client killed Bashline in an act of passion and rage, falling short of the first-degree murder charge.
Mares acted after being highly provoked, saying Bashline was disrespectful and calling him, among other names, a "fag," Reed said.
"That word, 'fag,' 'faggot,' is like pushing a button on him. To Draton Mares that is a word that often precedes violence and humiliation," Reed told jurors.
When Bashline was on a bed, the arrest warrant said, Mares put a pillow over Bashline's head and shot him with a gun Mares stole in a Boulder burglary.
The trial was to continue Thursday.