Update: Defense rests in FOP murder trial - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Update: Defense rests in FOP murder trial

Posted:
By Dave Thompson

1 p.m.

The defense rested its case just after noon on Wednesday, after Gregory Kittrell Jr. testified in his own defense.

 Kittrell is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Brian Patterson in February of 2011.

Kittrell recounted brushing up against Patterson at a party at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge on Wiggington Road the night of Feb. 19.

Kittrell said he was at the party to perform with his rap group but couldn't find the DJ, and he brushed against Patterson on his way back toward the entrance.

Kittrell recalled Patterson saying "yeah n----, what's poppin," which sparked an argument.

He said Patterson then hit him with a right to the left side of his face, and after one or two more punches put him in a headlock.

?He said his gun fell free of its holster and he was able to break free of the headlock, grab the weapon and fire it.

He said he did not recall anything between the first gunshot and running from the lodge.

Kittrell said he then went to a parking lot off Mayflower Drive to be picked up by family, and turned himself in to police the next day.

Closing arguments were to begin after lunch and the case will go to the jury this afternoon.

Earlier:

 

Gregory Kittrell Jr. sat silently in Lynchburg Circuit Court Tuesday as witnesses painted a picture of him as a man who pulled a gun after getting bested in a fistfight.

Kittrell is charged in the first-degree murder of Brian Patterson at a party at the Fraternal Order of Police lodge on Wiggington Road on Feb. 19.

He faces a malicious wounding charge relating to the shooting of Walter Carpenter, which permanently damaged Carpenter’s hand. He also faces two counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony, one count of maliciously discharging a firearm in an occupied building, and one count of carrying a concealed weapon.

Three witnesses at the party that night said they saw Kittrell pulled a gun after the fistfight. They testified to seeing him standing over a defenseless Patterson and shooting him more than once.

Signora Thurman testified before Judge Mosby Perrow she arrived at the party at about 9:30 p.m. Later in the night, Patterson arrived and Kittrell appeared sometime after.

Just after 11 p.m., she said, the fight broke out. Shortly thereafter, Thurman said, she heard a gunshot.

“I fell to the ground,” she said. “Everybody pretty much ran and fell to the floor.”

She saw Patterson. He had fallen nearby. Kittrell stood over him.

“Brian never moved,” she said. She saw Kittrell fire about three shots into Patterson.

Thurman said she saw Kittrell leave the building. She went to where others were trying to keep Patterson still until emergency crews could arrive.

“I was in shock,” she said.

Patterson seemed like he was trying to hold on, she said, but “finally, there was nothing else from him.”

Dr. Paul Benson, Assistant Chief Medical Examiner for the Western District of Virginia, testified during his autopsy he saw five gunshot wounds to Patterson — two he would classify as lethal and two he would classify as potentially lethal.

One shot, he said, entered Patterson in the right chest and damaged his subclavian vein. Another entered through the right side of Patterson’s face, destroying his larynx before exiting his neck. A third round, he said, struck Patterson in the back near his left shoulder, and two others struck in the left and right gluteal areas, one damaging his colon and pelvis.

Lynchburg Police Officer Brian Brooks said he was called to the lodge at 11:32 p.m. There was a lot of commotion, he testified, and at the time police did not know if the shooter were still at the scene.

Brooks said he recognized Patterson from his days as a school resource officer at Heritage High School. Patterson showed no signs of life.

Officer John Carey, a crime scene investigator, testified he found nine spent shell casings from 9mm rounds at the scene.

Lynchburg Police Detective J.T. Loyd said he obtained an arrest warrant and a search warrant for Kittrell and his Tulip Street house after witnessed identified him.

During the search of the house, Loyd said found a blue gun box for a Smith and Wesson that contained a test cartridge fired from the gun.

Carey said he sent the casings to a forensic laboratory, and David Gibbs, recently retired from the Department of Forensic Science, testified he examined the casings in comparison to the test cartridge and the markings matched.

Defense Attorney William Quillian said in opening statements Kittrell received the gun as a Christmas present from his sister and usually carried it in a holster on his leg.

He said Kittrell remembered firing only one shot that night, and nothing of what followed.

The initial shooting was a panicked reaction from being beaten up, exacerbated by memories from high school when Kittrell was beaten, losing sight in his right eye.

Quillian characterized the initial confrontation as “fisticuffs” between “two macho young men,” but said when Patterson got the upper hand Kittrell panicked.

Walter Carpenter, the party’s organizer, said he saw Patterson with Kittrell in a headlock and landing blows. He broke up the fight by bear-hugging Patterson from behind, pinning Patterson’s hands.

A few minutes after pulling Patterson away, Carpenter testified he saw Kittrell with a gun pointed in his direction, and heard a gunshot.

It took a moment to realize he had been shot in the hand, Carpenter said. He ran out.

A friend drove Carpenter to Lynchburg General Hospital where he was X-rayed, then flown to the University of Virginia Medical Center.

Carpenter, who is right-handed, testified he has not regained use of his hand even after surgery and therapy. He has another surgery scheduled.

The final witness to testify for the commonwealth Tuesday, Monique Hubbard, said she saw the fight but did not see Patterson with a clear upper hand.

Hubbard testified she saw both Kittrell and Patterson grappling on the ground, and after they had separated, she saw Kittrell pull the gun out of the waistband of his pants, and begin firing — not initially in the direction of Patterson.

Eventually, she said, Kittrell zeroed in on Patterson and followed him as he ran across the lodge. Kittrell, she said, ending up standing over Patterson, where he shot Patterson multiple times.

 “He just kept saying ‘I’m okay. I’m okay,’” she said.

But by the time emergency workers arrived, he was not responding anymore.

Testimony for the trial resumes today. 

 

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