Jury to Continue Deliberations in Marion County Man's Murder Tri - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Jury to Continue Deliberations in Marion County Man's Murder Trial Wednesday

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Michael Palmer Michael Palmer

A Marion County man's fate now lies in the hands of a Harrison County jury.

Michael Palmer and his wife Kristyn are accused of shooting and killing her father, Ed Wilson, in 2011.

Family members of Ed Wilson and Michael Palmer are awaiting anxiously in Harrison County Judge Thomas Bedell's courtroom as the jury deliberates.

Tuesday began with instructions for the jury. Judge Michael Aloi said that the jury can find Palmer innocent or guilty of one of four charges. Those include murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter.

Following instructions, Marion County Prosecutor Pat Wilson addressed the jury on why he believes Palmer is guilty of first degree murder in his closing statement.

"We know Michael Palmer killed Ed Wilson. We know he intentionally and willfully did it," Pat Wilson told the jury.

He began to talk about how the evidence would show Palmer was fully aware that Ed Wilson was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder way before he was shot. He continued to antagonize Ed Wilson anyway, according to Pat Wilson.

Pat Wilson said there were numerous occurrences that prove Palmer was not scared of Ed Wilson. One example he used was Palmer's 911 call from November of 2011 in which he stated, "I don't believe he is actually going to do it." Pat Wilson believe that didn't change up until Ed Wilson's death.

He said the night of Ed Wilson's death, there was 24 minutes between him leaving the VFW and arriving home. If Palmer was scared, he would have called 911, according to Pat Wilson.

Pat Wilson told the jury in the month leading up to Ed Wilson's death there are several things about Palmer for them to consider. Pat Wilson said Palmer hated Ed Wilson. He referred to the Facebook post presented during testimony, in which Palmer called Ed Wilson a "backstabbing, lying, two faced piece of [explicative]".

Pat Wilson added that the 911 call from November 2011 is verbatim of the 911 call from the night Ed Wilson was killed. He said it is a clear indication of premeditation.

He added that Palmer thought Kristyn's inheritance was going to Ed Wilson's girlfriend, there were possessions given away that Palmer thought he was entitled to, and thought he favored Kristyn's brother Dustin.

Pat Wilson said Ed Wilson made a lot of changes in his life prior to his death. He was spending a lot of money on his girlfriend, he wanted all of his assets to go to his grandson, and was even planning to evict the Palmers out of the house he gave them. The deed that was mistakenly signed over to the Palmers was never corrected, and Pat Wilson believes Palmer had no intention to.

"His chance to strike came in December," Pat Wilson told his jury.

Pat Wilson added that Ed Wilson never made any threat to Michael Palmer that he was going to kill him. He said Ed Wilson told the VFW he would be back the next day to decorate for Christmas and told his grandson he would take him to Cabela's. Pat Wilson said if he had the intent to kill someone, he would have never made those promises.

He said Ed Wilson was on the phone for 11 minutes with the Palmers on his way home before he was killed. According to testimony, it took 22 seconds to get to the front door from the truck and witnesses said after Ed Wilson returned home they heard gunshots 30-45 seconds later.

"He is clearly guilty of murder in the first degree. He knew he was going to shoot Ed Wilson when he walked in the door," Pat Wilson told the jury.

He said Palmer made the first shot before he even saw Ed Wilson walk through the door and made the decision to step into the kitchen and shoot again.

Pat Wilson also said evidence and testimony shows Palmer went into Ed Wilson's truck where he thought he would find a gun, but didn't. Instead, he placed brass knuckles into his hand.

"If he thought there was a risk of seriously bodily injury, it doesn't show in this case," Pat Wilson said. "He wanted him dead."

Pat Wilson told the jury Palmer should be convicted of murder in the first degree for deliberately and premeditatedly shooting and killing Ed Wilson.

"Ed Wilson should not be dead. He did not do anything on December 11 that would excuse Michael Palmer from shooting him," Pat Wilson said before he concluded.

Defense Attorney Sean Murphy was next to address the jury.

He began his closing statement with the words, "disrespect, perceptions, anger, and rage."

Murphy said these words describe what Ed Wilson's look on life due to his PTSD.

He said the state called in multiple people to testify about what kind of person Ed Wilson was. He said his "dear friends" are obviously going to testify how great of a person he was.

"He had a dark side when he was drinking," Murphy told the jury. "A person acts different around different people."

"This is a tragedy," Murphy added. "I will not disagree that Mr. Wilson should be here today with his friends and family."

He told the jury only three people know what happened that night and one of them is dead. It is the burden of the state to prove Palmer guilty and Murphy believes it failed to do so.

Murphy told the jury that the Persecuting Attorney's Office and the Marion County Sheriff's Department did not do their job. He called it "sloppy work".

"You should be outraged as a jury," he said. "Kicking in a mans door and coming into his home threatening bodily harm or death is a felony.

Murphy told the jury that the witnesses he brought in told them throughout the past couple of weeks that in all cases they have seen, this is the worst. Murphy used the word "garbage".

He said during the testimony of Marion County law enforcement, it was revealed that the crime scene wasn't controlled at all.

Murphy said crucial piece of evidence weren't collected, fingerprints weren't taken, Ed Wilson's truck or home wasn't searched, certain objects weren't sent to the lab, and even evidence was stepped on or ignored.

He added that they didn't check Palmers shoes to see if he went out to Ed Wilson's truck for the brass knuckles, didn't do experiments to test theories, and there are no police reports.

"You've heard the saying the proof is in the pudding. Well ladies and gentleman, there is no proof," Murphy said.

Murphy also added that the state called in witnesses that weren't credible. One was trying to get himself out of jail, one hated Palmer, others had drug problems, and some of Ed Wilson's friends didn't know the details of his medical conditions.

He believes evidence shows Ed Wilson had anger problems, he began to heavily drink after his wife died, and the phone call to Palmer the night of the murder shows both.

He said Jason Antonk's email could have been tampered with and the entire case is about guessing.  "If you have to guess, it's not true," he said.

Murphy finished his closing statements by telling the jury there were a great deal of things gone wrong. He talked about the fact that there was no police report, no evidence log, no measurements, no recorded statement, and no documents to reconstruct the scene. He told the jury that, "Never in 20 years have I seen someone not be in the investigating officer chair by council.  He also said he as never seen someone go and collect evidence from a crime scene two years later.

"How do we know Ed Wilson wasn't hit with the first shot and not second? How do we know it's not the same bullet?," he asked. "We don't. There was no testing."  He concluded by saying Ed Wilson came to the house wanting to cause bodily harm to Michael Palmer. He said there is clearly evidence of self defense.  "You are compelled to return a verdict of not guilty."

"Palmer acted within the law and is protected by the law. You have a job to do," he said.  The jury began to deliberate at 2:39 p.m. The jury deliberated until just before 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and will re-convene for deliberations Wednesday morning.