The Irish man accused of killing Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe in 2013 allegedly told a friend in New York that he "shot a cop in Ireland," the Central Criminal Court heard on Thursday.
Aaron Brady, from Crossmaglen in County Armagh, reportedly told New York woman Molly Staunton that he carried around guilt following Donohoe's death and said that he lived in fear of police coming to his New York apartment.
Staunton, 24, was giving evidence at the trial on Thursday by video link and was in a relationship with Brady's flatmate Tommy McGeary when both men lived in the Bronx in July 2016.
She said that she visited the apartment almost daily to see McGeary and that she was sitting on the couch with him one evening in July 2016 when Brady came out of his bedroom in distress.
She said that Brady was "intoxicated, crying, and going kind of crazy."
Brady's girlfriend was pregnant with his child at the time and Staunton said that he was in a state of distress because he was worried he would not be a good father. He was worried that he didn't have enough money to take care of his unborn son, according to Staunton.
Brady additionally claimed that he was the "most feared man in Ireland" and told Staunton that the "cops in Ireland were looking for him."
Staunton said that she was shocked by Brady's claims and that she didn't fully believe him at the time.
"I was in shock but almost didn't really believe it, I didn't fully believe it."
She said that gardaí and Homeland Security officers arrived at her apartment on August 29, 2016, and informed her that they were investigating Donohoe's murder. She said she told them that she had information related to the case and gave a statement at a local New York police station.
However, Staunton appeared to suggest that Brady had never made such a statement under cross-examination.
Defense Counsel Fiona Murphy put it to Staunton under cross-examination that Brady denies making any confession because he "never shot a guard."
Murphy also put it to Staunton that her client "never made any admission" that he carried out the shooting, to which Staunton replied: "That is correct."
She also appeared to retract her statement on Friday, her second day of giving evidence at the trial.
"As far as him killing a cop, I can't say he admitted it," she said.
She apologized to the court for changing her statement and said that she couldn't say with certainty that Brady had admitted to killing Donohoe.
However, prosecution counsel Brendan Grehan played a video of her making a statement at a New York precinct in August 2017 where she said: "He definitely said it himself that he murdered the cop or the detective."
After watching the footage, Staunton changed her stance and said that she stood by her original statement; that Brady had admitted he killed a cop.
Defense counsel Fiona Murphy, meanwhile, quizzed Staunton about a male voice that could be heard off-camera while she was giving evidence from her New York apartment.
The voice could be heard saying, "put a stop to it, you can stop it right now, no more testimony," which prompted Staunton to turn away from the camera and ask the unseen male to leave.
Staunton said that the man was a friend she was currently staying with.
She briefly cut off the live feed before rejoining the trial and Murphy asked whether the man had closed her computer.
She told the defense counsel that she wanted privacy while giving evidence and added that she didn't want to be in the same room as the man.
Fiona Murphy also asked Staunton about the evidence she gave on Friday, questioning whether she remembered hearing Brady admit to killing Donohoe or whether she just remembered telling gardaí about it a year later.
"I remember it happening and I remember telling the guards," Staunton replied.
Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was murdered during the robbery of the Lordship Credit Union in County Louth in January 2013.
He and his partner Detective Garda Joe Ryan were on a two-person cash escort when a group of five men approached them and shot Donohue in the back of the head at close range with a long-barreled shotgun. He was pronounced dead at the scene and the men made off with €7,000 ($7.800).
Brady was charged with the murder of Donohue in March 2018 in addition to a second charge of robbing the Lordship Credit Union.
He strongly denied all charges.