He shot his friend in the back, but says it was in self-defense. Prosecutors call it attempted murder

A Key West man charged with attempted murder for shooting a friend in the back in 2015 — leaving him paralyzed from the waist down — is on trial this week at the Monroe County Courthouse.

Anthony Joseph Valdes, 43, admits shooting Ray Alvarez in the back and putting a second shot in his leg, but says it was in self-defense after Alvarez attacked him.

Prosecutors, though, say Valdes nearly killed Alvarez, 31, without reason and call it attempted second-degree murder.

Testimony continues before a jury and Circuit Court Chief Judge Mark Jones on the courthouse’s third floor.

Valdes says Alvarez invited himself over to his home in the 3500 block of Duck Avenue the night of Oct. 15, 2015, but at some point rifled through his bedroom and took $500 from his family.

Alvarez tried to leave but Valdes told him to stay until the police got there. That’s when Alvarez put Valdes in a “chokehold,” the police report says, and Valdes said he fired his .32-caliber Beretta Tomcat pistol in self-defense.

“I never meant for this to happen,” Valdes told a detective after the shooting, according to a video the jury watched Wednesday. “I knew he had that money. I worked so hard for that money.”

Valdes said he took off Alvarez’s shoe and found his cash.

Alvarez says he was at Valdes’ home to buy drugs, and when he walked out of the home was shot in the back and then the leg.

“I said, ‘Stay down, bubba,’” Valdes told police, using the Key West term of endearment for a friend. “The police are coming. I was in a fear state the whole time.”

Alvarez told police he took some cash but gave it back after Valdes confronted him about it.

Alvarez watched the trial Wednesday from his wheelchair. Valdes was arrested for the 2015 incident on March 29, 2016. He is out of jail on a $250,000 bond.