Scott Gordon Reynolds, 29, is charged with the first degree murder of Uriel Noriega, who was gunned down outside St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 525 Seventh St., on Sept. 2, 2006. If convicted, he faces 50 years to life in prison.

"I was gonna put (the gun) to my head and pull the trigger," Reynolds said.

Reynolds has pleaded not guilty. But testifying in his own defense in Long Beach Superior Court, he answered questions clearly and concisely about how and why he shot Noriega.

After joining AA and getting sober, Reynolds said he confided in Noriega, his sponsor, that he was gay. Reynolds had told only one other person - his mother - about his sexuality, according to testimony.

When Defense Attorney Natasha Khamashta asked him why he did not want others to know about his homosexuality, Reynolds replied: "I just wanted to fit in and be normal."

Reynolds said he was enraged when he later found out that Noriega, who was gay, told his secret to other AA members.

Noriega had also been seeing a fellow member on whom Reynolds had a crush, according to testimony. Reynolds flew into a jealous rage and went to Noriega's home. He became even more angry when he said Noriega shut the door in his face.

The AA group had been his only social circle, Reynolds said. He had intended to kill himself in front of St. Luke's, where the group held meetings, but that changed when he saw Noriega's face, he said.

"You pointed the gun at him," Deputy District Attorney Patrick O'Crowley said.

"Yes," Reynolds replied.

"You knew the gun was loaded," O'Crowley said.

"Yes," Reynolds replied.

"You pulled the trigger once ... twice ... a third time," O'Crowley said.

"Yes," Reynolds replied.

Noriega fell to the ground and Reynolds continued shooting, according to testimony. Reynolds later said he couldn't recall how many times he shot his sponsor.

When O'Crowley showed a picture of Noriega's bullet-riddled body, Reynolds bowed his head for a moment, but showed little emotion.

Testifying for the defense, psychiatrist Dr. Roger Epstein said he diagnosed Reynolds with bipolar disorder on Aug. 8, less than a month before the shooting.

The doctor said Reynolds had complained of impulsiveness, depression, isolation, irritability and loss of sleep. He was prescribed a mood stabilizer called Zyprexa and seemed to be doing better at a second visit on Aug. 24.

But Reynolds testified that he had feelings of anger and would frequently talk to himself in the months leading up to the murder.

"I remember I wasn't feeling well," he said.

"In your wildest imagination did you ever think you were going to get away with it?" Khamashta asked.

"No," Reynolds said.

Closing arguments are expected to begin today in the courtroom of Judge Jesse Rodriguez.

kelly.puente@presstelegram.com, 562-499-1305 "