VERNON, Ind. — The murder retrial of Stephen L. Gilmore continued Thursday with the prosecution playing an audio recording of Gilmore describing to a sheriff's deputy the buildup to the February 2005 shooting that led to the death of his former stepfather.
The jury also heard testimony from a crime scene investigator and a firearms inspector.
Deputy Dave Turner of the Jennings County Sheriff's Department, who was the first to officially interview Gilmore following the shooting, testified that Gilmore, now 59, spoke freely with him about the incident, waiving his right to remain silent.
A recording of Turner's interview with Gilmore as they drove from the scene of the shooting to the sheriff's department in Turner's squad car was played for jurors.
Gilmore told Turner how 59-year-old Billy Akers angrily stormed up to the Commiskey home of his mother and Akers' ex-wife, Beverly Akers, who was in the hospital at the time.
Moments earlier, the two had a disagreement over the phone about a water line. Gilmore said the conversation ended with Akers hanging up on him.
Hoping to deter a confrontation, Gilmore said, he stood at the front door and showed Akers that he had a rifle.
Gilmore told Turner the display only made Akers angrier and how he struggled to close and latch the door as Akers tried to force his way into the home.
On the recording, Gilmore said that when he thought he could no longer hold Akers back, he fired the rifle.
As he did, Akers slammed the door shut, preventing Gilmore from seeing where the shot went. However, he did say the shot shattered the glass of the storm door behind Akers.
The interview then began to taper off as Turner arrived with Gilmore at the sheriff's department.
Earlier Thursday, Sgt. Rob Ewing, an Indiana State Police investigator, walked jurors through evidence he and other officers collected at the scene of the shooting.
Jurors viewed the rifle investigators say Gilmore used to shoot Akers.
Police found the .22-caliber, semiautomatic rifle with a scope, lying on a loveseat near the front door of the home, where the shooting took place.
Jurors also studied a diagram of the mobile home that noted the locations of two .22-caliber shell casings, one just outside the front door and one inside the home near where the rifle was located.
Video shot by Ewing during his investigation inside and outside the home reiterated the shell casing locations and showed the broken storm door window window and the shattered glass that had fallen onto the front porch.
Prosecutor Barry Brown also presented to jurors Akers' blood-stained coveralls and shirt and instructed Ewing to point out the bullet holes associated with the second shot investigators believe killed Akers.
Jurors also got a look at a small .22-caliber pistol found in Akers' left pants pocket.
In his cross-examination of Ewing, Gilmore's defense attorney Aaron Edwards quizzed the officer on the effect different ammunition types within the same caliber can have on the distance the weapon ejects a spent casing.
Ewing said the distance casings are thrown from a rifle can vary significantly depending on the type of ammunition.
Edwards also asked if the rifle had been test fired to determine a pattern in the way it ejected casings.
Ewing said the gun was tested and the results were inconsistent.
"They did not all go the same way," Ewing said of the casings.
Jurors posed their own written questions to Ewing, which Judge Jon Webster read aloud.
One juror asked why blood collected at the scene was not tested.
Ewing answered that investigators had no reason to believe the blood belonged to anyone other than Akers.
The prosecution's next witness, Ed Wessel, a retired firearms examiner for state police, explained to jurors how Akers' coveralls did not have gunshot residue on them. Gunshot residue, he said, is lead and gunpowder particles that appear on a target when a gun is fired at close range.
Wessel testified that Gilmore's rifle, which Wessel tested, would leave no gunshot residue on a target more than 7 feet away.
Brown said Thursday that he expects to wrap up his case this morning, at which point the defense will begin making its case.
The trial resumed at 9 a.m. today at the Jennings County Courthouse in Vernon.
Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!
All content copyright ©2013 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.