The first of three court trials against men charged with killing a St. Paul man during a robbery last December began this week with emotional testimony and revealing evidence.

Shaun Lamar Travis, 26, has been charged with second degree murder for aiding and abetting the death of Alex Becker — a 22-year-old who was robbed and fatally shot while walking home from work last December. The two other suspects in Becker's death, 21-year-old Arteze Kinerd and 21-year-old Detwan Allen, were arrested and charged with second degree murder. Kinerd's jury trial begins February 26. Allen's starts December 4.

In opening statements for Travis' case, defense attorney Robert Plesha claimed that his defendant was a struggling worker in the wrong place at the wrong time. Plesha said Travis went to high school and college in Wayzata before money ran low, leaving him without money for rent.

Travis was reportedly couch surfing between friends' homes last December. He went with Kinerd and Allen December 27 to buy marijuana. Plesha said Travis was so shocked by Becker's death that he threw up in the car.

"He couldn't have anticipated what would happen. It was done suddenly without any provocation," Plesha said.

But Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Jessica Plotz said Travis and the others dumped their clothes to hide the crime, adding that the three stopped talking to each other after Kinerd was arrested in January.

As both sides tried to prove their case, testimony revealed new details about Becker's murder — and the emotional trauma it caused.

Tara Becker testified that her son Alex was working at his father's company a mile away from their home the night that he was killed. She was waiting for him while playing World of Warcraft when she heard gunshots. He was due to come home at any minute, but Becker's concern grew when her son didn't answer the phone.

"It continued to go to voicemail. I don't know how many times I called him, but every time it went to voicemail I would hang up and call again," Becker said, crying as she spoke about him. "Alex was the kind of person that [had] a lot of empathy for other people ... he befriended everyone he knew. He was a very kind person."

Authorities' evidence and testimony reveal that Alex was nearly home when he was shot six times, dying yards from the back door reserved for his family and friends. Yellow evidence tents marked bullet casings along the alley behind his house. Investigators found gun parts, earbuds, glasses and blood around his body.

Becker attempted to commemorate Alex by calling for acts of kindness months after he was murdered. She said her son's compassion set him apart, and neighbor Susan Dupre might agree.

Dupre lives next door to the Beckers, and was one of the first to call 911 after hearing gunshots. Although officers didn't say who was shot, she said she believed it might have been Alex.

"From a little guy he was just a great kid," Dupre testified. "And that has a lot to do with Tara, the mom, because she's very hands on with her kids."

Testimonies will continue Friday at 1:30 p.m. It's unclear when the trial will end.