UPDATE — 6:30 p.m.
In his opening statement Wednesday morning, Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Wiese told the jurors they would hear evidence that Jack Carpenter and David Meyer, Jr. had gone shopping on the day Meyer was shot for materials that are used to produce methamphetamine.
He also said there would be evidence that the case meets the standards of first-degree murder, including words from Meyer before he was shot that would have given Carpenter a chance to reconsider his actions.
When reviewing the definition of first-degree murder for the jury, Wiese said, “There must have been real and substantial reflection for long enough to give a reasonable person a chance to think twice about their intent to kill. ‘Go ahead and shoot me. What are you going to do, shoot me?’ That’s enough time to reflect on your intent.”
Carpenter’s attorney, Karl Numinen, said the case is about self-defense. He claimed the jury will hear evidence that Meyer was threatening Carpenter with a hunting knife.
“He (Meyer) was telling him (Carpenter), ‘I’m gonna kick your ass!’ “, Numinen said. “Our arguments are going to be, when you’ve got a 10-to-12-inch hunting knife in the hands of a guy high on different drugs, within inches of your face, you are in reasonable belief of danger of being killed or seriously injured.”
The first law enforcement officer on the scene testified about her observations of the area and of Carpenter’s words to her.
“I said, ‘is there somebody hurt inside?’, and he said, ‘where did you get this information?’, like, who told me?”, Deputy Betsy Rochon of the Marquette County Sheriff’s Department said. “He was very slow in his speaking, his eyes were bloodshot; every time he spoke, there was a heavy, heavy smell of alcohol on his breath.”
Numinen says there was an important element Deputy Rochon did not reveal: that a witness told her Meyer had tried to stab Carpenter.
Rochon wears a digital audio and video recorder on her uniform, and it was powered on when she responded to the shooting. At one point, while Deputy Rochon was behind the wheel of her patrol vehicle, witness Justin Saari said to her, “He tried stabbing him,” and while playing back the portion of Rochon’s recording in which Saari said that, Numinen said, “Wait; what was that?” While cross-examining Rochon, he said, “Unfortunately, some of those observations are kind of selective. For example, you didn’t just tell the jury what Justin Saari said, ‘he tried stabbing him’.”
A former examiner from the Michigan State Police crime lab in Grayling testified in the late afternoon about a bullet hole in the wall of Carpenter’s and Meyer’s home.
Carpenter’s charge of open murder means that if he is eventually convicted, he’d be found guilty of either first-degree murder, second-degree murder or a lesser charge of some sort, depending on the evidence. Wiese has mentioned manslaughter as a possible eventual lesser charge.
Marquette County Prosecutor Matt Wiese called the first witness called to the stand this morning to get the murder trial of Jacques Carpenter underway in Marquette County Circuit Court.
The Ishpeming man is charged with open murder in connection with the June 2012 shooting death of David Meyer, Jr. The shooting took place at a home on North Second Street in Ishpeming where both men lived.
Seating a 12 member jury, with two alternates, for the trial was time consuming as more than 20 potential jurors were dismissed from the jury pool, mostly because they knew one or more of the potential witnesses.
Carpenter’s attorney, Karl Numinen, is expected to argue self-defense based on Michigan’s 2006 ‘stand-your-ground’ law. It’s the same type of argument that resulted in an acquittal in Florida for George Zimmerman for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin.
Carpenter faces a life sentence if he’s convicted. He’s being held in the Marquette County Jail without bond.
The trial is expected to continue through the duration of this week, and possibly into Monday or even Tuesday of next week, before the jury begins deliberating.
ABC 10’s Senior News Reporter Mike Hoey is in the courtroom and will have an update at 5:30 p.m. on ABC 10 News Now.