BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — He was looking for his girlfriend, Michael Lee Milam told detectives, when he entered a house on El Tejon Avenue the early morning of Nov. 14.
He only drew a gun when another man in the house pulled a knife, he said, and he never meant to fire the weapon, just scare the other man.
Regardless of his intention, Timothy Robert Brown, 41, ended up dead, shot once in the face.
Milam, 46, is charged with murder and other offenses and faces a life term in prison if convicted. He’s held without bail.
Also charged is Ricky Devin, 48, who faces two counts of assault with a firearm on a person and a battery charge.
Both men have a hearing scheduled Feb. 1.
Arrested after a traffic stop Nov. 15, Milam gave sheriff’s detectives his account of the events leading up to the shooting.
It started with an argument with his girlfriend, who wanted to go to a bar. Milam wanted to stay home.
They eventually went out but continued arguing. Later, they ended up at a house in the 500 block of El Tejon Avenue which Milam referred to as a “flophouse” where anyone could go and use drugs.
Milam said he waited in the car while his girlfriend went inside to look for someone. After a while, he walked to the front door and a man opened it wide “like come on in,” he told investigators.
When he asked the man if he’d seen his girlfriend, he “got real smart with me,” Milam told investigators. He said they exchanged words then swung punches.
During a brief pause, Milam said the other man pulled a chrome object, what he believed was either a knife or a gun, from his pocket, according to the filings. Milam drew a gun.
He told detectives he only meant to scare the other man, but the gun accidentally fired as he transferred it from one hand to the other.
A detective asked if he remembered telling another person in the home, “Do you want to get shot, too?”
Milam said he may have said that but he didn’t remember, according to the filings.
A man had reported seeing Milam armed just before the shooting, and said Milam had threatened him, the filings say.
The girlfriend corroborated much of what happened the night before the shooting. She said she, Milam and Devin went to a couple bars and a couple convenience stores before arriving at the El Tejon Avenue house.
She told detectives she was in the backyard when she heard a gunshot and went inside and saw Brown on the floor, bleeding.
She, Milam and Devin jumped in Milam’s car and she was “freaking out” as they drove away, she said according to the filings.
Although she didn’t witness the shooting, she said, “I thought they did it!,” referring to Milam and Devin, according to the filings.
Milam later told her the “dude got crazy” and pulled a knife, so he shot him, the girlfriend told investigators.