Action News 5 will be in the courtroom for the duration of the Harry Coleman trial. Coleman, a Cordova businessman, is accused of second degree murder in the death of FedEx mechanic Robert Schwerin, Jr.
The shooting happened on February 6, 2009, in the parking lot of the Trinity Commons Shopping Center on Germantown Road in Cordova.
Action News 5 will bring you regular updates from the courtroom for the length of the trial.
6:05 PM - Court is back in session. The jury is not in the room.
The defense intends to rest.
The state intends re-buttal. Those witnesses are scheduled to come in in the morning.
The judge hopes to get to the jury at 10 am tomorrow.
The judge recesses court for the evening.
He asks all the parties to return at 9:30 in the morning.
5:56 PM - Court is still in recess. Apparently the defense was trying to decide to put on anymore prof. The decision may have been made for them. Ballin just walked into the courtroom and told Hagerman the following:
"My witness checked out. Won't testify."
It looks as though the defense may be finished with it's proof, but we'll find out shortly.
5:50 PM - Recess continues.
5:38 PM - The judge sends the jury out of the room.
Court is in recess.
There may or may not be more testimony today. There is no indication at this point.
The courtroom empties.
Steve Farese comforts harry Coleman who remains seated. A courtroom deputy hands him some handkerchiefs which he uses to wipe his eyes. He take s swig of water and continues to wipe his eyes.
Court is in recess.
5:35 PM - "If you weren't mad and you weren't angry, what set you off?" Hagerman asks.
"That's just the way I reacted." Coleman says. "Nothing set me off."
He says he does not remember hitting Schwerin's car and he does not rememebr Schwerin taunting him again. Coleman says he didn't have any chance to argue with Coleman. "He was always teh one talking," Coleman says. He says he does not know how much time elapsed between the time he hung up with 911 and the actual shooting. He says time is hard to tell. Coleman says it may have 30-45 seconds. He says he does not remember saying "If you touch my wife again, I'm going to blow you're brains out." He says he hopes he would remember saying something like that. He does.
Hagerman is finished. There is no re-direct.
Harry Coleman is done on the stand. He steps down and re-calims his seat, his head dropped into his hand, which is now resting on his forehead. He is shielding his eye with his hand. It is propping up the wieght of his head.
5:30 PM - Coleman says he backed up toward Panera Bread. Hagerman point sout that his wife was still back there by Schwerin. Hagerman poijnts out that at first Coleman went toward Schwerin but now he wasnted to back away.
Hagerman asks, "He wouldn't leave you alone while you had the gun to his mouth?"
Coleman says he wanted Schwerin to leave he and his family alone. He says he never, that whole night saw a man in white. He says he never saw a man in white. Ever. he says he never saw the man in white standing over the body.
"I think he told a pretty wild story the other day," Coleman says of the testimony of the man in white, Joseph Sneed.
Hagerman asks, "What did you want Mr. Schwerin to do when you put the gun at his mouth? To run? To beg?"
"If anybody was begging it was me," Coleman says.
Coleman says he made the decision to get the gun and made the decision to walk toward the man. He says Schwerin cussed him again. he made the decision to walk toward him, to stick his gun in his face. He says he did not make the decision to shoot him at that point. He told the man that he and his wife was scared and to leave us alone. He says he backed up about 20 feet. He says the man took a step toward him. A young man tried to stop him. He says Schwerin pushed the young man away. Coleman's wife tried to intervene and got knocked to the ground. He says he remembers vividly Schwerin charging at him. He says he told Schwerin to stop. He sasys Schwerin was at a slow run ot a charge. He says Schwerin got within 4-5 feet. He Holds up his left arm as if to say stop and holds out his left arm as if pointing a gun. Hagerman plays the role of Schwerin.
Coleman says he had the Hummer 6-8 months. His wife told him it was being vandalized. He says he didn't think about how that made him feel. He says htat didn't anger him.
"I don't think I was ever angry that night," he says.
He says the man threatened him during the second cuss out. He's getting more surprised and scared at that point. He says he went back to the Hummer thinking he needs help and he's worried about the situation.
5:20 PM - Bench conference over. Bench conference not over...
Ballin places a disc on the desktop in front of Judge Fowlkes. The parties discuss privately.
Bench conference really over this time. Ballin hands Coleman the disc. There was no answer to the previous question. The disc is the video animation of that night. He has seen it before.
Ballin is done.
Hagerman takes cross-examination.
Coleman agrees you should not kill a man for vandalizing your car, or cussing you out, or for cussing out your wife, or for being a jerk, or because you're mad at him, or to prove that you're a bigger man. Coleman says it was the right decision to go outside when summoned by his mother-in-law. He was told his car had been vandalized. He was not part of the disagreement between his wife and the man. He agrees that he was int eh right when he first went outside. He did nothing to create the situation. It was created before he got out there. Hhe says he was not immediately afraid of this man. He became afraid at the second cussing out, before he got the gun. He says hte man was hostile and angry and apparently drunk threatening to kill me and my wife.
"I was getting real concerned real quickly," he says. He says he did not threaten the man first and the man was the one vandalizing his car. Afte rhte third cussing he went the the Hummer. He says he does not know if he hit the other car when he opened the Hummer. He says he got ont he phone. He says it seemed like he was ont eh phone forever. He says he close dhte phone and hung up. At that point he got his gun. He says he got the gun to get protection for me and my family and that if he showe dthe gun the man might leave the alone.
He says the man is not on top of either him or his wife. He says their was no plan or decision. he wanted to get the firearm for protection. he threw the hoster in the car and made sure it was on safety. He shut the door and stood there for 10-15 secodns to make sure the guy saw the gun. He says hte man did not come at him. He says he thought maybe he didn't see the gun. He does not know if he told the man he had a gun. Instead he decided to walk towar dhte man he was so afraid of. He says he was nervous and rattled. Hagerman asks is a ratteld man walks toward someone he's afraid of or if an emboldened man walked toward someone he;s afraid of.
"I did what I did," COleman says. He says he walked up to him and pu thte gun in his face and put it between his nose and his mouth. He says he did not expect Schwerin to take the gun away from him. Coleman says he though Schwerin would leave. Coleman says Schwerin just stood there. He says Schwerin did not raise his arms. He says Schwerin looked at him "wild-eyed." He says he told Schwerin that he was nervous and scared while he had the gun to the mouth of an unarmed man. He says he put some space between them.
5:06 PM - He says immediately a man came up to the right. He says he never saw that man before. he says no one ever tried to get in front of him or interfere. He says after the shooting a young man ran over. He says he told the kid to go and help his dad and call 911. He says he never pointed the gun at anyone else that night. He says his wife then took three steps toward him and all out faints. He went to her to help. he says he kept wondering "Where are the cops?" He tried to get his wife revived to see if she;s hurt. He says he then heard the sirens and figured he better get ready for police.
"I shot a man," he says. "I wasn't going to leave." He says he leaned against a wall when police arrved. He said the cops pointed their guns at him. he says he pointed out hwere the gun was. The police took the pistol out of his pocket and backwalked him back tot eh car. The cop searched him. he explained that head a gun carry permit. He says he told police why he had shot. He says he gave them a statement. He says he told them about the guy andalizing the car and that he was worried about his wife. He says he told police he was scared for his life.
"How has this changed your life?" Ballin asks.
Coleman pauses. He looks down a the floor and cannot muster an answer.
Hagerman asks to approach.
5 PM - "They just never answered," he struggles. "It seemed like a long time."
At that point he decided to try to protect his family. he says he reched into get a pistol he keeps in the center console. He says he made sure the gun was on safe becasue he didn't want anybody to get hurt. He thought if he showed it to him he might leave us alone. He says he got out of the right rear door area. He closed the door and for a few seconds stood there with the gun by his side. He says Schwerin cursed him at least one more tiem. he says he thought Schwerin must not see the gun so he walke dup to him. HE says he did it because he wanted Schwerin to leave he and his wife alone. He says he did not intend to shoot him at that point. he says he walked right up to him and could have shot him at that point if he had wnated to. Instead, rattled and upset, he got right up close to him and put the gun right in his nose and then his mouth. He says he told Schwerin, "I'm scred, my wife's scared. Please leave us alone." He says he did not shoot him, but rather kept his eye on him and backed away about 20 feet to the west toward Panera Breas. He says he was scared of him so he kept his eye on him.
He says a young man tried to grab Schwerin and Schwerin hit the young man out of hte way.
"Where was Mr. Schwerin standing?" Ballin asks him.
"He never did rally move," Coleman says of Schwerin. he says shwerin was on teh sidewalk between the two vehicles extended.
Then, he says, Schwerin took one or two steps toward him. Almost instantly my wife got in his way. He says Schwerin knocked her down to the sidewalk. He says he thought "My God, he's hurt Katheryn. He's going to do what he said he was going to do. Kill us."
After he threw Katheryn down he charged a me. Coleman says he threw his left arm up and said "Stop, stop!" bUT sCHWERIN DID NOT STOP. hE SAYS HE THOUGH sCHWERIN WAS GOING TO KILL THEm. He says he fired hi weapon because he thought Schwerin was going to kill them. He says he thought his life was in danger. He says he fired hi weapon one time. After the shot, Schwerin fell back toward his right, Coleman's left. Coleman says Schwerin got within four or five feet. He says he saw Schwerin fall.
4:52 PM - He called his wife as she was pulling into the parking lot. Then he made another phone call or two. He saw his mother-in-law first. She tapped him on the shoulder and told him Katheryn was in some type of altercation. He says he went outside immediately. He left the dayplanned inside but kept hte cell phone in a holder in his hip.
Coleman is holding a handkerchief in his left hand. Every now and then it sunds as though his voice is cracking.
He walked out of the restaurant and saw his wife in some sort of disagreement. He walked into the parking lot. he saw a crowd out in the parking lot and his wife in the middle. He walked up to his wife. She was standing between the HUmmer and a Silver GMC Denali. He says he took her by the arm and heard a big man up there hollering. he says she asked his wife what was going on. She told him the guy was vandalizing the car and hollering and screaming. She says the man thought they were parked too close. He says he didn't think there could be that much to it so he started walking toward him.
He says he didn;t say anything.
He says as he was walking up, Schwerin cussed him out "pretty good." Coleman says cussing and threatening are one in the same, particularly if you don't know a guy. H says Schwerin told him that he eas going to "kill me, my wife, and my dog."
He says Schwerin was talking loud, rocking back and forth. he says hiseyes were red and bloodshot. "He's either on something or drunk," he says. He says hejust looked at him like what's going on. He says Schwerin kept threatening him and said that he was going to kill him, his wife, and his dog. He says he thought he was in a hornet's nest at that point. He says teh guy was big. He says the guy looked to be 6-3, 6-4, especially from his vantage poin below the curb. He says, "I stepped in a bad situation." He says he was shocked. Coleman says Schwerin was rocking back and forth with his fists clenched. Sometimes he had his arms crossed. He says he thought he needed some help, police help. He says he backed up, kept his eye on Schwerin and opened the right rear door of hte vehicle in order to put something between the two of them becasue he got into a bad situation "with a hostile guy. Didn't even know him." He says he got the phone out of the carry case and called 911.
4:40 PM - Savannah Schwerin returns to the courtroom to watch this testimony. She takes a seat on the front row.
Stipulation, read out loud... That night, Coleman had a valid handgun carry permit.
The defense calls Harry Ray Coleman to the stand to testify. In an all black suit, an orange-ish, yellow-ish tie, Coleman takes a seat at the witness stand. Ballin hands him a styrofoam cup of water. He says he had a handgun permit in February 2009. He says he is 60 years old and married. His wife just testifeid. He has three children and five grandchildren. He is in the real estate business, has been for 38 years.
February 6, 2009. He remember the day. it was a Friday. he says he told his wife Happy Birthday when he woke up and then went to the office. he stayed until 3 or 3:30. He stopped in West Memphis to see a friend in a hospital and then head n up to another part of arkansas to conduct some business. He broguht his friend a pie and then called a lawyer, Scott May, for his friend. He says he waited on May to get to the hospital. he says he was not keeping track of time, but may got there around a quarter to six. He introduced May and waited a few minutes. He says he let them talk in private and stepped intot the hall. He waited 15-20 minutes the stepped back in adn told them goodbye.
He says he did not continue on to Arkansas becuase it had gotten dark and wanted to go home to see his wife and sleep in his own bed. He knew his wife and mother-in-law were going to dinner in Collierville for a 7 pm dinner reservation.
He says he decided to just go on back to Memphis. He went to the Peabody and looked at an Ivory-Jade exhibit. It's a real nice exhibit. It's in a glass display case. He had two glasses of wine at the Peabody in the downstairs lobby area. Talked to two or three friends there. He left the Peabody and called his wife when he got in his car. 8:20 pm. They were leaving the restuarant so he told them to meet him at Villa Castrioti in Cordova. He went there to meet them. He says he pulled into the parking lot and parked. He did not notice anything unusual. he says he went into the restaurant and sat at a long table right there allowing people to sit or stand up. He greeted a couple freinds. He took a black dayplanner inside and his cell phone. he says he ordered a glass of wine and had a couple of sips.
4:30 PM - The judge sends the jury out of the room. The four lawyers remain at the bench.
Court remains in session.
Harry Ray Coleman takes the stand. It's a typical move. Must be doen before he decides to testify or not testify. It's a standard thing.
"I'm very ready to testify," Coleman says. He says he understand he does not have to, but wants to, "absolutely." He says he has taken advice from his lawyers but made the decision on his own, clearly and voluntarily. He says he's ready. The judge walks through his rights with him. He says he understands and wants to testify.
The judge allows him to step down fromt he stand. He returns to his seat.
Ballin indicates that there will be atipulation with this witness. The judge reads it. It's signed by both parties. The judge is good with it. It will be introduced later.
"We're ready judge," Ballin says.
The judge asks for the jury.
It returns to the room.
4:26 PM - Katehryn says Schwerin started the whole thing, that he pulled off pieces of the car, cursed at a woman, shook a fist at a woman.
She says she did not see a gun that night.
She says she told police what had happened. She says police could not find a computer that worked and tehn couldnt find a printer that worked so she says she had to repeat it several times. She says she was tired. It was late at night, 1:30 am maybe 2 am.
She says nobody told her where to put the marks on the white board. She says no one told her where to mark anything because that would be improper. She says there were otehr people out there that night. Other people where saying things. The Schwerin child tried to get his dad to leave. She did not notice anything that was being said from the crowd that formed.
February 6, 2009. She says it was extremely chaotic.
Farese done. Re-cross from Hagerman.
Aktehryn is done on the stand. She steps down and takes a seat in the gallery.
Ballin asks to approach the bench.
4:20 PM - Katheryn says she had two glasses of wine that night becuase it was her birthday. She says sh edid not start an argument with Schwerin, but she didn;t seek any cover becaseu she didn;t know what Schwerin had done to the car, "I didn;t know if he had put a bomb on the car," she says.
She says she stayed and did not want to leave the scene.
She says she went back toward him.
"Of course I did. So what?"
Hagerman asks why she would got toward him if she was so scared. She says she just wanted the man to leave them alone. She says she never told the kid she hoped his dad would die.
"That is the biggest story I've ever heard," she scoffs. "I would never say that."
She says she was in teh back of the police car crying. She says she was scared. She says she did not go around trying to talk to otehr cops. She says she never told the victim's sons "I hope he dies."
"No," she says. "That's absurd." She says she would never say that.
She says she never saw the HUmmer door slam into the Yukon. She watched Schwerin from teh back of the cars up through the alley between the cars. However, she says she did not see the passenger side door slam into the Yukon, which would have happened int hat same alley between the cars. She says she was looking past it, at Schwerin. She says she doesn;t know what Schwerin said to Ray but he cursed at her and berated her.
She say she did not hear any threats because she could not hear what they were saying. Perhaps Schwerin may have threatened her but she couldn't tell. She could not hear what Coleman was telling Schwerin.
She say she did not see the gun, but was told Ray got it from the car. She says she only saw him open the door. She did not see him get the gun from the car. She says Ray was in teh car for maybe a minute or so and she was watching Schwerin the whol tiem. Words were not being exchanged while ray was in teh car. She does not know it if was silent becuase she was just watching Schwerin and his body language. She does not know if Ray was saying anything either.
She says she was not intoxicated that night. SHe says she was not being combative that night. She was trying to make peace with him that night. "What he was saying was not making sense," she says.
HAgerman is done.
Farese on re-direct.
4:10 PM - Bench conference over...
Farese returns to questioning Katheryn Coleman.
Back to the video. He hands her the video. She says she has seen it before, even today, and that it accurately depicts her comings and goings that night.
Farese pauses, walks back, confers with Ballin and Ray Coleman.
Farese is finished and passes the witness.
Hagerman up to question her. February 6, 2009. She says she drives up and sees some man doing something to her car. She says it might've been another 10-15 minutes before the shots rang out. She says she was not throwing gasoline on teh fire. She says she was not cursing, but she was yelling. She says she doesn't remember what she was yelling. She yelled from behind the car. She says he called her names and cursed her. She says she remembers calling him a fathead. She says maybe a minute or two of yelling with Schwerin she told her mom to go inside. Ray comes out. She says she was standing behind the vehicles but in a position where she could see the alleyway between the two cars so she could see what was happening up ont he sidewalk. She saw her husband go to the Humemr and open the door. She saw her husband walk to Schwerin. She says she never saw a gun and never saw him point a gun at Schwerin. She says she never got in Schwerin's face, "Ever, only when I first approached him." She says she did not make the sitaution any worse. She says she was helpful with police and told them the mportant facts about what had happened.
She says she stood behind the cars the whole time, but might have shifted a few minutes. She says the police did not write down everything she said that night. She told them everything she could re-collect. She says the man taking her statement did not write everything down. She says she told the police that her husband wen to the car, opened the door and went up to Schwerin and that the police chose not to put that into the statement. She says she told police that Schwerin was 250 pounds. Details were not hte problem. She says she never saw the gun. She did not tell police that Coleman put the gun inSchwerin's mout becuase she never saw it. SHe says she told police that her husband and Schwerin were having words.
HAgerman reads fromt eh statement... "Somebody got Ray off this guy."
She says Ray was never "on" Schwerin. Either Ray got off of Schwerin or somebody got him off. She says she saw them mighty mighty close but there were no fists flying. Something causes her to run up. She says she saw Schwerin's profile advancing toward her husband so she ran toward that to try to help protect her husband. She says she did not see the people on teh sidewalk because she wasn;t looking at them. She was keeping an eye on Schwerin. She says her husband had baked away toward Panera Bread Company.
She says her hsuband put distance between himself and Schwerin. She says Ray stopped.
She ended up closer to Schwerin when she ran toward him to stop himfrom hurting her husband. Then she heard the gunshot. She didn't see it. She was lying on the ground trying to get up. After she came to she saw her husband again.
She heard gunshot, got up off the ground, looked at Schwerin, and fainted.
3:56 PM - She says she never saw anyone else get between her husband and Schwerin but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. She says she remembers everything exactly as it happend that night. Ballin and Farese confer.
Katheryn gave a statement to police that night. SHe says she wasn;t doing very well that night. She tried to be as accurate as possible with the police. She has since re-read it. She says it is "fairly" accurate. Farese hands her hte white board with the diagram of the parking lot. Farese hands her a pen.
She initials the spot where she was standing when the shot was fired. She say she was on the ground, "probably about right here," she says as she writes 'KC'. She draws the spot where Schwerin fell and where Ray was at the time, "give or take a few feet."
Katheryn Coleman says she has seen a video re-enactment of what happened from her viewpoint. She says it was accurate. It accurately depicted what she did that night and of what occured that night concerning this shooting.
Hagerman requests to approach.
Katheryn Coleman remains on the stand.
3:50 PM - She says Schwerin screamed and yelled at her and shook his fist at her. She says her husband approached her fromt eh parking lot. She describes Schwerin as a big man, a big guy, like an ex-NFL football player, well over 6 feet, well over 250 pounds. She conversed with her busband. He asked what is going on. She said this guy vandalized hi car, not sure what he's done, I'm scared, thought there might be a problem. She says Ray said okay and then approached the man to try to talk to him. She says Ray was calm and normal and didn;t think it was any big deal. She says she saw gestures but could not hear them talking. She says both made gestures.
KAtehrine says Schwerin's hands and fists were by his sides. His chest was puffed out. He rocked back and forth, "like he was about to explode." This discussion laste "a minute or two." SHe says she was keeping her eye on Schwerin but saw her husband open the rear passenger door of the HUmmer. She saw him shut the door and approach Schwerin again. She says it looked llike they were in close contact and that Ray had Schwerin by the shirt. She says she did not see Ray with a gun. She did not move from her position. She says ray backed away about 20 feet. katherine says she did not see Ray with a cell phone. She was not watchig him. She is 5'4-1/2". That night she was wearing high heels. From her viewpoint, she then saw Schwerin advancing toward Ray. She says she went between the cars to try to stop him from hurting her husband. At the same time teh people in the car were trying to get out of the Yukon Denali but she beat them through.
She got through and saw Schwerin. She says he was advancing toward Ray. She says she got in front put her hands up and said stop. She says Schwerin he swung his arm and knocked her down. Right arm. She went tothe ground.
"Next thing I knew there was a gunshot," she says.
She stood up and saw Schwerin on the ground in a pool of blood and she fainted.
She says she next saw her husband standing over her trying to help her back up. She says she did not Schwerin. She only knew her husband and her mother. She did not know where he mom was wehn this was going on. She says she never heard Ray cursing Schwerin. She says she never cursed at Schwerin, never used any curse words.
After the shooting, she says she heard someone say, abnout her, "There she is go get her." She says she did not respond. She says she never cursed anyone on that scene. She say sh does no use the MF term. She says she never said she wished anyone would die. She says she was very calm on scene and could n ot believe it happened. She says she sat in teh back of the police car and could not understand why the ambulance wouldn;t leave. She says she aske dthe police why they weren;t leaving. The cop told he he;d be fine.
She says she never met a man like Schwerin and had never been cursed at or berated in such a fashion. She says it scared her. She didn;t know why he was talking to her like that, disn;t know what she had done.
3:40 PM - The defense calls Katheryn Coleman to the witness stand. She steps into the room and hands her purse to a friend in the room. The takes the oath and takes the stand. SHe wears an all black dress and a black sweater. Her hair is black.
Here name is spelled Katheryn. She has been married to Ray Coleman for 20 years. She says she rememebres the night of February 6, 2009. February 6th is her birthday. She says she had dinenr at the restaurant in Collierville that night. She says she was with her mother. She turned 52 that night. After dinenr, she spoke to her husband by phone as they were leaving the restaurant. As a result of the phone call, she changed her destination and went to Villa Castrioti in Cordova. She's familiar witht he restaurant and has eaten there before. She says she went to get dessert and for her mom to meet someone Harry wanted her to mee.
He called her back when she was about a block away from Villa Castrioti. She turned into the parking lot. She says she entered on the Germantown Road side. She says he then started looking for a parking spot and noticed her husband's car. She says she noticed someone pulling parts off the car and dropping them to the sides. It was a male. She says she pulle dintot he nearest parking space and got out of the car quickly. She approached the man and asked him what was he doing that was my husbands car. She says he said, "I did it." She says she did not know the man or why he was doing it. She says she thought he was drunk or mentally unstable so she walked away and wen to the back of the car. She says he was angry and she tried to make peace with him. She says she told him neither vehicle was on teh wrong side of the line. She says she even pointed to teh ground. She says he started yelling at her, cussing her and berating her so she walked away for her safety.
She says she went to the back of the car to get the man;s car tag, but didn;t have anything to write with. She says he kept cursing at her. She says she yelled toward the car to get her mom to go get her husband. She says she never told Schwerin he couldn;t leave and she did block the vehicle. She says the Schwerin car was running. There was exhaust and at least 2 people in the car. She says she did orevent anyone from leaving and no one asked her to leave. She says someone came up from behind her and tried told his dad to come on let's go it's not worth it.
She says Schwerin still did n ot move but rather kept yelling and cursing.
3:28 PM - Court is back in session. The lawyers are back in place. The jury is not yet in the room.
Another bench conference before the jury returns.
Bench conference over.
The judge asks for the jury to return.
The jury returns.
3:20 PM - I have gotten some clarification...
At this point, the defense plans to call both Katherine Coleman and Harry Ray Coleman to the stand to testify.
The discussion just before this break centered around the defense's request to put on testimony about prior bad acts on the part of Robert "Dutch" Schwerin. But before they can do so, they must first appropriately raise the self-defense issue. The judge told them he did not think they had done so at this point. So the defense will put on more testimony, from the Coleman's, and then ask the judge again if they can put on testimony regarding prior bad acts on the part of Robert "Dutch" Schwerin. Even at that point, the judge may not allow it.
An interesting afternoon awaits...
Court remains in recess.
3:14 PM - Still in recess.
Ballin briefly rubs the back of Hagerman's shoulders, as if massaging his shoulders. He is overheard telling Hagerman, "Katherine and then Ray."
Don't want to make any assumptions, but we'll see...
3:11 PM - Court remains in recess...
Will the defense team put Katherine Coleman on the stand?
Will Harry Coleman take the stand?
3:10 PM - I have, uh, been alerted to a small mistake that I made a little earlier... On a name.. of the other lawyer from Ballin's office, the one who has been sitting with Coleman when Ballin and Farese both step out.
His name is not "Eric" Bartlett... that was a mistake.
His name is Gray Bartlett. I don't know where I got Eric from. Poor memory, perhaps...
3:05 PM - The judge is talking through some testimony from previous witnesses. There is no context to understand exactly what he's working through. The judge says he'll allow Ballin to present fact witnesses, but he'd be hard pressed to allow witness testimony about self-defense.
Ballin says this is an absolutely critical decision in the trial decision tactics and asks for several minutes to decide. The judge grants it and places the court in recess. The courtroom empties.
2:55 PM - Ballin and Farese return.
Defense calls Jimmy Youngman to the witness stand. He is an auto body repair technician. Been in teh business for 14 years. He worked on Coleman's Hummer in February of 2009. Ballin hands Youngman a picture of Coleman's Hummer.
Youngman did work on the lights up front. Youngman says the ring on one side has been ripped off. He says he had seen teh vehicle when the lens caps were on the front of the car but when it came back to him the caps had been pulled off.
Ballin hands the actual caps and the ring to Youngman. He identifies them as the one's on the Hummer. Youngman says getting off the ring would require disassembling the light because he went looking for one when he had to repair it. He says it could have been pulled off with a lot of pressue.
Youngman says this Hummer was the H1, the big one, though it's really the same size as the H2. Hagerman done. No re-direct.
Youngman is done on the stand.
Ballin asks for time to discuss a few matters. The judge sends the jury out of the room.
Court remains in session.
Ballin says he wants to call his witnesses, but he needs the judge to rule on something private from earlier.
2:48 PM - Bench conference over.
Leslie Ballin and Steve Farese step out of the room.
"Youngman," Ballin inquires as he steps out. Bartlett is back talking to Coleman.
Apparently Ballin and Farese must confer with the next witness before that person takes the stand.
Slight break, though court remains in session.
2:45 PM - Wright says the "lens caps" were plastic or a light metal. Hagerman goes back to the marked picture. The markings he made are from memory, he says. The mark for the shell casing is to the right of the edge of the window for Landau Uniforms. In the photo, the shell-casing is to the left of the edge of the the window.
back to the picture of the eyeglasses, the blood, the t-shirt. Wright says he carries a semi-automatic firearm. he's been trained on it. He has fired it thousands of times. He says he is familiar with the way it ejects cartirdges. He says it ejects the shell-casing back and to the right. He says there is no science to what happens to a shell-casing once it hits the ground. He says there is n o way he can say what happened to that shell-casing between the shooting and the time he located hte shell-casing.
Semi-automatic handgun ejects cartrisge back and to the right.
Hagerman asks fellow prosecutor Eri CHristensen for help locating a particular piece of eveidence. He pulls out a brown evidence envelope. Inside are two white "lens caps" and one black ring, the one that had been seen in the previous photo. The "lens caps" are white with black print on the front facing outward. Hagerman is finished. Passes back to Ballin
Wright says there is no science to the way guns eject shell-casings. He collected the shell-casing that night. It has been in police custody since that night. He says he assumes there is some way to test bullet casings to see if they have been scraped.
Wright steps down off the stand. he is done..
Ballin asks to approach the stand.
2:38 PM - Ballin searches for anotehr photo and asks for help from Fares, hagerman and his own assistants to find it. Ultimately he moves on.
Ballin hands Wright another photo. It's a wide shot of the spot where the bullet-casing was found, taken to offer perspective.
ballin has found the photo for which he was shirting. It's a shot showing the spot where the t-shirt was. it looks from the east to the west. The t-shirt is visible in the shot on the lower right hand corner. It is right near a pool of blood. In the background there is a pole, a column. It is the one the casing was 11 feet from. the casing was in the actual parking lot, in a parking space.
There were eye glasses found on the scene, Wright says.
Ballin asks for a moment.
For the second day in a row, District Attorney General Bill Gibbons has entered the courtroom and taken a seat on the front row to observe. He is sitting directly to my left.
Ballin asks for more help finding anotehr picture. Hagerman hands him the photo he wanted. Ballin hands the photo to Wright. It a photo of the glasses in relation to the t-shirt. Photo on the projector. The sidewalk. Glasses then t-shirt and blood pool then the column in the background.
Ballin moves on to photos that have to do with the Hummer. Wright identifies a picture of the Hummer parked inside the crime scene tape. Wright says he sees "lens caps" on the hood. Photo introduced as evidence. Placed on projector. hard to see from here. Wright says he does not know how the "lens caps" got ont he hood of the Hummer. Ballin refers to them as "lens caps," but I believe he is referring to the caps on the head lights that Dutch Schwerin had removed fromt he Hummer. Two more picture. Close ups of the lights from which the caps were removed.
Another photo. A rim that had been attached to where the lights were. The rim is at the base of where the HUmmer was parked. The edge of the curb is visible in the picture. Wright says the "rim" was in the exact spot where it had been when he found it.
Coleman is taking notes, his reading glasses still resting below the brisge of his nose.
Back to a previous picture, the one on which Wright marked the casing and the t-shirt and the pole. The bullet-casing was 11'2" from the column.
Ballin is done with the witness.
Hagerman steps up for cross-examination.
Wright refers to his crime scene report. He says he got the call at 9:50 pm and made the scene at 10:30 pm. Everything had already happened. the victim was still there in the ambulance. He was no longer laying on teh pavement, but had been loaded into the ambulance and had not left the scene.
Wright says he collected and tagges the spent .45-caliber shell-casing, the eyeglasses, the t-shirt near the blood, and possible human urine.
2:23 PM - The jury is back in the courtroom.
The defense calls Marlon Wright to the witness stand.
Wright takes the stand. He wears an all black suit, light-blue shirt and red-ish tie.
He is a Crime Scene Investigator with MPD. Has been assigned to that unit for 6 years. Has been with MPD for 15 years. Was uniform patrol until CSI. He describes his duty as to build the foundation for any case. Wright was a CSI on scene at the Trinity Commons parking lot on February 6, 2009.
Ballin place s photo on the projector. It operates properly. The picture is the building front of Landau Uniforms, just east of Panera Bread. Another picture. This time a crime scene photo. The Hummer and the GMC Yukon parked next to each other, Landau Uniforms is in the background. The two cars are parked next toe ach other. The Hummer on the left, the Yukon on the right. Both are in their own lanes.
Back to the first picture, Wright points out which of the parking spots the Hummer and Yukon Denali were parked in.
Another photo, another shot of the parking lot from a different angle. Unlike the otehr two, this one was taken during the daytime. Wright points out the parking spaces again.
Wright says he found a bullet casing on scene that night. He explains what a bullet casing is. Ballin hands Wright the third picture again. Wright marks the spot where he found the shell casing and returns it to Ballin, who shows the prosecutor. Ballin returns the picture to Wright. Wright marks the spot where he found a t-shirt and a bloody area.
The casing was 11 feet, 2 inches from the pole, or column, to the left that can be seen in the picture. The picture is now on the projector with Wright's marks on it. The marks show where the bullet casing was found and where the bloody t-shirt was found. Ballin hands Wright another photograph. Now it's on the projector. It is a tighter shot of the sidewalk area in front of Landau Uniforms. A crime scene photo. The t-shirt can be seen in the picture along with a bloody spot. Anotehr picture Wright identifies it. It's a picture of the shell-casing. Ballin places it on the projector. There was just one shell-casing.
2:10 PM - The judge is back in the courtroom. leslie Ballin says his first witness is ready.
The judge asks for the jury.
Court is back in session.
2 PM - Harry Coleman remains in his seat behind the defense table. He is whispering quietly with a man named Eric Bartlett, another attorney from Leslie Ballin's office.
Steve Farese is behind them collecting some paperwork from an assistant. It appears as though they are making last minute preparations for the next witness to take the stand.
The judge gets up out of seat, leaves the room, and returns to his chambers presumably.
There is tension in the courtroom, and on overwhelming sense of anxiety.
1:55 PM - The bench conference is over.
"Court stands in recess!" the courtroom deputy declares.
More silence. Court is not in session.
One of Ballin's wintesses showed up. Ballin steps out into the hallway to speak with him.
1:50 PM - Court is n ow back in session, and it starts with an immediate request o approach the bench. All the lawyers are at the bench whispering quietly with Judege John Fowlkes. The jury is not in the courtroom.
There is no indication what the discussion is about or what the hold-up might be.
1:45 PM - Near total silence...
1:37 PM - Still in recess. Slight delay over an equipment malfunction. Courtroom personnel cannot get the projection screen at the front of the room to stay unrolled in the down position... and it's needed becasue the defense is going to use some pictures.
Finally, after several minutes of trying, the projection screen locks in the down position.
Both sets of lawyers are in place.
It's a matter of mere minutes before the defense resumes its case...
1:33 PM - Back in the courtroom. It is packed once again. The lawyers are in place. Harry
Coleman is in place. His family and friends are behind him. Robert Schwerin's family and friends are on the opposite side of the courtroom. Trial has not yet resumed.
Neither the judge nor the jury are in the room, but it'll only be a matter of minutes.
11:40 PM - Heaston revises his staement. there were three call backs from the operator. All went to voicemail. Hagerman is done. Ballin re-directs but only for a brief moment.
Heaston is done on the stand. He steps down. Ballin asks to take a lunch break right now. He asks that he have until 1:30 pm.
The judge agrees. he asks the jury to be patient with the court.
He sends the jury out of the room.
Court is in recess until 1:30 pm, at which point, the defense plance to present more proof on in their case. Ballin has at least two more witnesses, an auto repair man and a crimes scene officer. He says they still have to decide if either Harry or Katherine Coleman will take the stand.
This break will last a little longer than most.
Court is scheduled to resume at 1:30 pm.
11:35 AM - The jury returns to the room and takes the box.
Leslie Ballin says he had proof to present. He reads from a stipulation agreed upon between both sides. On February 6, 2009, Harry Coleman's cell phone number was (901) 359-8873. That is the stipulation between sides.
Leslie Ballin, as if making a proclamation, calls Eddie Heaston to the witness stand.
Heaston is a supervisor at the 911 center here in Shelby County. He has worked there for 17 years. He has records from the above phone number. The 911 call center received a call from the number at 2100 hours or 9 pm. The exact time was 21:00.43, the ".43" references seconds. Heaston explains that some calls fall into queu whenall operators are busy.
The record lists the ring time as 1:21 seconds.
He says the records say talk time is :04 seconds. That's from the point the operator picks up the phone. He says the operator did not hear anything in those four seconds.
Available operator was at position 15. The telephone was ringing for 72 seconds while it was in the queue. Then it starts ringing on the operators system. It pops up on her screen.
If there is no answer, operators try to call the number back so find out the emergency.
The oprators tried to call back the above number twice. The first call was at 9:02 pm. The second call was also made at 9:02. First one was at 9:02.08. Both times went to voice mail. The second call back was at 9:02.55. The record from the 911 call center are entered into evidence.
Ballin is finished. Hagerman re-directs.
Heaston says there is no way to tell who had the phone and made the call. No way to tell who was holding the phone or making it.
Once a call falls into queue, even if they hang up, the call remains in queue until it pops up on teh operators screen. The call keeps ringing until operator picks up even if someone hangs up. There is no way to tell if the person hung up at 9:00.44 or at 9:01.54. No way to tell how long someone actually stayed on the phone.
11:25 AM - Court back in session. Both families file back into the courtroom. The judge is here.
Harry Coleman steps back into the room, though he's in the last third of the crowd to step back in.
Ballin tells the judge the defense has one witness available, after which he hopes to take a lunch break to discuss matters. He plans to call a crime scene officer as well as an auto repair man to discuss the damage to Hummer. Then they will make a decision about whether or not the Coleman's will testify.
He says his other witnesses will be ready to go by 1:30 pm.
He says this witness will take them to lunch break. He says there wis one stipulation regarding this witness and it revolves around a phone number and a document.
The judge calls for the jury.
11:20 AM - Still in recess. Courtroom mostly empty, though the lawyers are here and it appears that the defense team is nearly ready, if not already so.
Testimony should resume soon.
11:10 AM - Still in recess...
11 AM - Court is still in recess. All the people who had filled up the courtroom are filling up the hallway conversing with each other.
Next to men, the photographer from the CA is explaining his elaborate system of still cameras to a curious courtroom deputy who asked him about it.
Trial should resume shortly.
And when it does, the defense is expected to put on arguments.
10:47 AM - The jury is sent out of the room. Court is in recess. The state has rested its case.
Leslie Ballin makes a motion requesting that the Fowlkes make a judgement of acquittal to throw out the case for a lack of evidence against his client. The judge promptly rejects the motion. he says there are issues here that only the jury can decide on.
The judge puts the court into recess.
Everyone filters out of the room, though some of the lawyers mill about at the front of the room.
Balling and Coleman dicsuss matters. Coleman hands Ballin a breath mint.
The room is mostl empty.
The state is finished presenting its case.
When court resumes, the defense will present its proof, and it appears as though they plan to do so by calling some witnesses.
The judge says this break will last "about 10 minutes."
10:42 AM - She says she had gotten out of the car and moved towar dhte back of the vehicle. She says she did not see the shot or the events that happened just seconds before. She says she had blonde hair in February 2009, which she still has now. She says she never tried to restrain her dad that night. She says her dad did not have a gun that night. She says she did not see Mr. Coleman point a gun at anybody else, though she understands that that happened. She says she spoke to other witnesses that night and that's how she knows he pointed hte gun at other people. She says she has spoken to her brothers about it since, but does not remember when they talked about it last.
She says she did not see him point the gun at anybody else and never told anyone that she saw him point the gun at anyone else.
Ballin asks for a moment then resumes questioning. She says her dad was the only one in the group drinking that night. She says she got into the passenger's side and moved over to the driver's side. She did not start the car. The car was not running.
SHe says she was in the car. Her dad was not. She was ready to go. She tried to get him to go. She acknowledges that she couldn;t leave because dad wouldn't get in the car. ballin is done.
She says she wishes her dad would have gotten in teh car. She says she was scared becasue her dad wouldn't let it go. But she was not scared that her dad would attack any of the Coleman's or threaten them or kill the,. She wasn;t scared that her dad was going to kill anybody.HAgerman done.
SHe says her dad was not cussing at her. She says she was scared becasue her dad wouldn;t let it go. It -- that they had parked too close.
Savannah Schwerin is done on the stand.
The state rests it's case in chief.
10:35 AM - Savannah says she did not see her dad lay a hand on Dallas or on Katherine Coleman. She says there was a part of the events that she did not see.
She says she got out of the car after Harry walked up to her dad put the gun in his chest and then in his mouth. That's when she got out of the driver's side. She says she does not remember if anyone else had been in the car with her. She say it was her intent to drive when the got out of the restuarant. She says it was because her dad was drinking. She says her dad had been drinking in the restaurant. He was drinking Grey Goose Vodka. At the house, before the restaurant, he was drinking out of thosse "little beer bottle." SHe doesn;t know how many he had. She saw him drinking around 6 o'clock. Does not remmeber what time they got to the restaurant. She says her two brothers were also at the house in Byhalia, MS along with their girlfriend's.
She says she lived with her dad. That night, she gave police a different address. She says that's her permanent address though she stays at her dad's. That night, her dad drove to the restaurant. It was just the two of them in the car on the way to the restaurant. She says she tried to get into the Denali on the driver's side but couldn;t so she got into the passenger side with no trouble.
She says her dad never tried to get into the car on the passenger side. She says he walked past the car. She says her dad could've gotten into the passenger side just as easily. Savannah acknowledges that her dad changed from jovial to angry. Ballin asks her to describe the face that her dad makes that she describes him as being angry. She says she's seen the look on his face before.
She acknowledges that the look on her face caused her to be scared. She says she was in the driver's seat before Katherine got there. She says she told her dad to "come on let's go" before Katherine showed up. Then when she showed up she motioned for him to come on because of the look on his face that made her embarrassed and afraid.
The car was not running. She says she was in it. She could not hear all the curse words, though she could hear some things, but not very clearly. She says she could hear speaking but not what was said. Though she remembers hearing some cuss words. She says part of her was worried that it might escalate. She wanted it to end.
She says Mr. Coleman showed up a minute or two later. She says her dad was on the sidewalk. So was Mr. Coleman. The two men talk briefly before they started cussing at each other. She says she could tell that her dad was still angry. Coleman goes back to the passenger side of his vehicle. She says she did not take her eyes off of Mr. Coleman. She never saw him use a telephone. She saw him come out with the gun. He approaches her dad and pushed him. Puts the gun to her dad. She says she saw her dad back away. She did not see Coleman back away.
10:20 AM - State calls 16-year-old Savannah Schwerin to the witness stand. She is Dutch's Schwerin's daughter, though Hagerman slips up and calls him "Butch." He cathces himself then continues with questioning.
Savannah was at Villa Castrioti that night with the the rest of her family. She left the restaurant with her dad. She says she was going to drive home because her dad had been drinking and she wanted to practice. She says she got into the passenger side of the car and got intot he driver's side. She says her dad did not get into the car. She says her dad was just stanidng on the sidewalk. She could tell he was angry by looking at his face. She hear dhim arguing with a woman standing behind the car. Savannah couldn;t see the woman from where she was sitting. They were arguing back and forth. Her dada and the woman were both cursing though she doesn't know exactly what words were being used. She says she was looking for her brothers then motioned for her dad to get in the car. She says she just wanted to go home because she didn't want it to turn into a scene. She says she was scared and embarassed becasue she thought it was going to turn into a scene. She says the woman came closer to her dad. They kept arguing back and forth. The husband came out and immediately started arguing with her dad. Back and forth between her dad and the husband. She says she heard cursing. Savannah says she saw the man go to his car. She slipped into between the two cars and got into the Humemr through the passenger seat. She says she was still in the driver seat. She says the man slammed open the door and hit "our car." When he got out of the Hummer he had a gun in his hand. The man walked up to her dad put the gun to his chest and then put it into his mouth. Both men were on teh sidewalk. She says she cannot remember where the wife was at that point. She says she does not know where her brothers were. She says she got out of the driver's side as soon as she the gun. She says she was not able to get out easily. She went to the back of hte car.
"The next thing I know I hear a gunshot," she says. SHe did not see the gunshot. She says she ran up to the sidewalk to her dad. He was lying on the ground. She says Coleman was just standing there where he had been standing before. His wife was laying on the ground. She says Harry was to the left of her dad. So was Katherine. Savannah says the police showed up and took Harry into custody. Savannah came to the police station to give a statem,emt.
She lef tthe restaurant with her dad. He was not mad. He says he did not hear her dad threaten anybody or anybody's wife. She says she never saw her dad strike anybody. She never saw Coleman try to walk away. She never saw her dad lunge at Coleman.
Hagerman is done questioning Savannah.
Leslie Ballin is up to cross-examine Savannah. He starts gently. He starts by apologizing for her being in this situation.
10:10 AM - The jury is back in the courtroom.
Steve Farese resumes cross-examination.
After the shooting the scene became chaotic. People he knew and didn't know were running toward the entire area. There is a semi-circle of people forming around the area. He knew some and didn't know others. Dallas says he didn't hear everything that was going on. He was on the phone with 911. It was chaos.
Farese is at the stand holding up the white board with the diagram of the parking lot. Dallas is showing him where everybody was gathering in relation to the shooting event. Dallas says he did not see the shot fired, but saw immediately after. he says he turned and saw Coleman holding the gun and pointing it at his dad. After that, Harry holstered the weapon behind him in his back right pocket. Dallas saw him holster the weapon. Farese mimics how Coleman would have holstered the weapon. Dallas says he's not positive that Coleman waved the weapon around at other people. He says he knows it ended up in Coleman's back pocket. Dallas says he wouldn;t say that Coleman holstered the gun immediately after the shooting. Dallas does not know how long it was after teh shooting before the COleman hosltered. If he had seen Coleman point the gun at others, it would;ve been important and he would've reported it.
Farese is finished.
Dallas is done on the stand.
9:58 AM - Both families have filed into the courtroom. Once again Harry Coleman has taken his seat behind the defense table. His eyes are red. He looks like hes been crying. He sniffles audibly.
Dallas Schwerin is back on the stand.
The lawyers are at hte bench clearing up a private matter with the judge before the jury is called in.
Court is in session but trial has not resumed.
9:42 AM - We are back in the courtroom. The judge just wrapped up the rest of his docket for the day. Judge Fowlkes does not dilly-dally. He keeps proceedings moving rapidly.
Court is in recess...
However, it should resume very soon.
All the lawyers are milling around out in the. The Coleman and Schwerin families are here.
Just before I stepped inside the courtroom, Harry Coleman could be seen in the hall sharing a hug with a black-haired woman who looked to be about his age. He teared up when they came into contact with each other. I don't know who she was, but they both got emotional before stepping to the other side of the floor.
Regardless of the side, both families are in the middle of a very emotional time.
9:10AM - Nick Kenney will be providing updates from the courtroom today.