Prosecution in Highway Shootings Trial Wraps Up Case
After four days of testimony, the prosecution has rested its case in the jury trial of accused "highway Shooter Charles McCoy. McCoy faces a possible death sentence if found guilty in a string of 12 shootings along and near interstate highways in Central Ohio during late 2003 and early 2004.
From the start, prosecutor Ron O'Brien has maintained that the trial of Charles McCoy will turn on "mental health" issues. During the last day of prosecution testimony both sides worked to get statements in front of the jury on McCoy's behavior and mental condition at the time of his arrest on March 17th of 2005. McCoy has pleaded not guilty to the charges by reason of insanity.
F-B-I Special Agent Scott Bakken works with a unit in Las Vegas that specifically looks for fugitives. On the witness stand, he told jurors that after receiving a tip, he took McCoy into custody at a Las Vegas hotel and told the defendant he had a warrant for his arrest.
Bakken told the jury he had some indication from Ohio authorities that McCoy was a diagnosed schizophrenic right after he talked to him the first time. But, he said McCoy had no medicine on his person and none was provided him.
On cross examination from the defense, attorney Andrew Haney Bakken agreed that "compliant" was a fair characterization of McCoy's behavior immediately following his arrest.
Las Vegas authorities confiscated a nine-milimeter Baretta from his hotel room. Prosecutors allege he bought that gun at Vance's Shooter Supplies at Cooke and Cleveland in Columbus shortly before heading west to Las Vegas. McCoy's father turned over two similar guns to the I-270 Highway Shooter Task Force on the same day.
Ron Larrimer, a former Columbus police officer and now an employee of Vance's Shooting Supplies, sold Charles McCoy the gun at the northeast side retail shop.
Prosecutor Ron O'Brien asked Larrimer more about the purchase.
Larrimer says McCoy cleared a federal background check and paid for the gun with cash.
On cross examination of Larrimer, Lead Defense attorney Michael Miller posed a pointed question when he asked if it is easy to buy a gun off the street.
"It's extremely easy to buy a gun off the street," Larrimer said.
For now, the jury was left without a specific indication as to why Miller asked about buying guns off the street. The prosecution also bolstered its case today with more specifics about the lone fatality of the "Highway Shootings.
Forensic Pathologist Patrick Fardal performed the autopsy on 62 year old Gail Knisley. Knisley was a passenger in a car traveling the south outerbelt in November of 2003 when she suffered a fatal bullet wound.
The trial of Charles McCoy is recessed until Thursday morning when the defense will give its opening statements.