BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (WCAX) – A Wardsboro man is on trial for murdering his neighbor in as case that dates back more than six years. Was it a killing in cold blood? Or an act of self-defense?

A grand jury indicted Kevin Parker on the murder charge more than six years ago. The trial was delayed because of COVID, however the case is now back in court.

Kevin Parker was 57 years old in 2016 when police say he killed his neighbor in Wardsoro after a long-standing feud. 42-year-old Kirby Staib was found dead on an adjoining property on Gilfeather Road where the two men lived across from each other. In court Friday, Staib’s friend and former co-worker testified that the victim was calm, clever, and hard-working.

“Just a gentle soul, a true Vermonter,” testified Timothy Bills.

Exactly what sparked the fatal encounter that day is still not clear. But, police say they had been called to intervene between the two men several times before the deadly shooting. Prosecutors are trying to paint a picture that Parker was often the aggressor. During one interaction, Parker told authorities the two men were at war.

“He referenced them being, his quote was at war,” said Sam Wood, a former employee of the Vermont State Police.

On a 9-1-1 call to police after the shooting, Parker admitted he fired at Staib. He told police on the recorded call that he “didn’t want to shoot the guy.” The weapon was shown to the jury. But Parker says the victim pulled out a handgun, pointed it at him, and fired first. When Parker was arraigned on the murder charge many years ago, his lawyer told us his client was simply defending himself.

“This was an act of self-defense and it’s clear that. Mr. Parker has been consistent with that,” said defense attorney Chris Montgomery in 2016.

Parker has been out of jail on bail, living with his brother in Connecticut since he was first arrested. If convicted on the 2nd-degree murder charge, he faces the possibility of 20 years behind bars.