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Alleged shooter says woman assaulted him

A San Miguel man accused of attempting to kill a woman he was sleeping with testified Monday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court that the alleged victim had physically assaulted and threatened to kill him.

But Steven Smith also said he didn’t file any official report with law enforcement officials because he didn’t get proof that he felt would have granted him a restraining order against Gina Stanko. His testimony marked the second day of court in which the defense has developed the argument that Smith was a tormented man who’d been continuously harassed by Stanko.

Smith’s father, Russ Smith, also took the stand, saying that he saw Stanko slap Smith on multiple occasions. He said he saw red marks on his son’s body.

But Russ Smith also said that he never reported the incidents to authorities because he didn’t believe they’d take any action because “when a girl hits a guy, police don’t care.”

Steven Smith testified for a second day in his trial, saying that Stanko physically assaulted him by pushing, slapping and hitting him 30 to 40 times. She allegedly gave chase in a vehicle while he was driving three separate times. She threatened to kill him 30 times, he said.

Smith said he never hit her back or cursed at Stanko as she cursed at him. He often tried to ignore her verbal or physical abuse or calm her, he said.

“I did what I could to make her happy,” Smith said in his response to his attorney’s questions about how he responded to her actions.

Stanko previously testified that Smith came to her home Nov. 6, 2009, and shot her three times — in the skull, chin, and hand — with a .22-caliber gun. Stanko’s 16-year-old daughter also previously testified to witnessing Smith fire one of the shots at her mother.

Stanko has recovered from her wounds after multiple surgeries but testified that she has lost some mobility in her hand.

Smith testified about one occasion in particular in which Stanko followed him and his then-fiancee through Paso Robles and threw trash and hurled insults out of the window of a white car.

The chase prompted Smith to tell his fiancee that he’d cheated on her with Stanko and marked the beginning of a stressful period in their relationship exacerbated by Stanko’s frequent harassing texts, calls and visits to his work, he said.

Russ Smith testified that he saw Stanko slap his son on multiple occasions at the Paso Robles’ car repair shop he owns and where his son worked, as Stanko demanded payments for doctor’s visits.

Russ Smith said he provided car service for Stanko and one of her relatives in exchange for help in paying for doctor’s visits.

Russ and Steven Smith said they both were unsure if the child was actually Steven’s and they were waiting for the birth to have a DNA test taken. A DNA test after the birth proved the child to be Smith’s.

Prosecutor AndyCadena is expected to cross-examine Smith today. The trial resumes at 10:30 a.m. in Judge John Trice’s courtroom.

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