Defense begins in battery trial of pair
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 10:00 AM
Prosecutors have rested their case in a joint trial of two men accused of beating a state's witness.
The defense begins arguing its case today in the trial of Garry Allen Gibson, 48, and Dustin C. McFadden, 23.
The two men are on trial for charges including aggravated battery, two counts of criminal confinement and battery resulting in serious bodily injury during an altercation in the Presidential Estates apartment complex.
The case involves the alleged battery of John Taulbee, a man prosecutors say was battered because he testified during the drug trial of Chris Peelman, a friend of the two men on trial.
Part of the case the state has to prove is that Taulbee's injuries put him at a substantial risk of death. Taulbee suffered facial fractures, a fractured nose, brain hemorrhaging and blurred vision from the attack, according to court records.
Ron Kearschner, a doctor at King's Daughters' Hospital who was working in the emergency room when Taulbee was admitted, said the injury most likely to cause death was the brain hemorrhaging. When doctors discovered the bleeding, they transferred Taulbee to University Hospital in Louisville.
"If you have a small bleed, you worry it can turn into a larger bleed, which can cause death," Kearschner said.
Stephen Beardsley, Gibson's attorney, suggested that since the wound did not get bigger and stopped bleeding shortly thereafter, that Taulbee was not at a substantial risk of death.
According to the probable cause affidavit from the case, McFadden and Gibson told police Taulbee tripped over a moped and landed on his face, causing the injuries.
Kearschner said Taulbee's facial injuries were not consistent with a fall onto pavement or concrete.
"If it (the fall) were outside on a sidewalk or pavement, it'd be very unlikely you'd have no abrasions," he said.
During Monday's proceedings, Taulbee testified McFadden and Gibson attacked him from behind, threw him to the ground and kicked him while he was down. References to Taulbee tripping over a moped were made several times in the second day of the trial.
Annisa McFadden, who is married to Dustin McFadden's father, testified that Taulbee was causing trouble at a birthday party and cussing and trying to start a fight. After a while, Gibson went to confront Taulbee, she said.
After a short altercation, which Annisa McFadden said was started by Taulbee, he tripped over a moped and hit the concrete.
Annisa McFadden told the jury she did not like Taulbee because he had gotten members of her family in trouble. Taulbee led authorities to a methamphetamine lab where Chris Peelman, Darci McFadden and Gerald "Buddy" Ritch - all of whom Annisa McFadden said she is related to - were arrested.
Details of Annisa McFadden's story changed during her testimony, including from which direction she came around the apartment complex to observe the fight, where she was standing and where the fight occurred.
Prosecutors have asked several witnesses about the presence of a moped at the scene.
Marla New, a woman who lived near the scene of the incident and could see Taulbee lying in the parking lot, testified she did not see any moped in the area. Patrolman Adam Guzman, a responding officer to the scene, said he did not see a moped in the parking lot when he arrived.
Senior Patrolman Joe Baker, one of the officers who responded to the initial call, said Gibson called him and told him Taulbee had tripped over a moped.
Baker said during the course of the investigation, he and Guzman approached the party and attempted to find information about the alleged battery.
"They wanted nothing to do with it (the investigation)," Baker said.
Police collected a blood sample from the pavement in front of the apartments where the altercation took place. That blood tested as a positive match to Taulbee, according to Lt. Det. Tyson Eblen with the Madison Police Department.
Officers executed search warrants on the homes of Gibson and McFadden to search for clothes the two men may have been wearing at the time of the incident. Taulbee's DNA was not found on any items of clothing police recovered.
Also on Tuesday, prosecutors played two jail calls made by Gibson to his wife. In the calls, she can be heard saying "Who knew a battery would turn into all this," with Gibson responding "Yeah."
In another call, Gibson said, "I only hit that .... one time." The second call also made references to a snitch and Gibson's wife saying, "a moped knocked him over, not you."