During questioning of a state trooper in the Shawn Rogers murder trial Rogers’ attorney gave jurors the impression troopers performed an incomplete investigation of the crime scene.
Rogers is the 33-year-old Kenai man charged with the shooting death of Brian Black, 43, of Beluga, in Fat Albert’s Tavern and Bunkhouse in Beluga, July 26, 2004.
Alaska State Trooper Barry Wilson told jurors he flew to Beluga the night of the shooting with trooper investigator Dane Gilmore and two paramedics from the Nikiski Fire Department.
Wilson was the patrol shift supervisor that night for the troopers’ “E” Detachment on the Kenai Peninsula.
Witnesses testifying earlier in the Kenai Superior Court trial have said Rogers pointed a gun at Black in the tavern, Black rushed over to confront Rogers, two shots were heard and Black fell to the floor dead.
Other patrons restrained Rogers with belts around his wrists and ankles and held him until troopers arrived.
Wilson told assistant district attorney Scot Leaders when troopers arrived on scene about 1 1/2 hours later, Wilson’s initial focus was assuring the suspect was restrained.
As Wilson entered the bar, he said someone handed him a baggie with a lead bullet in it and said it had been found on the floor near Black’s body.
Wilson said he proceeded directly to the area behind the pool table in the barroom where Rogers was being held.
During nearly four hours of cross examination, defense attorney Chuck Robinson asked Wilson who gave him the bullet.
“Don’t know,” said Wilson.
“Because you didn’t ask?” asked Robinson.
“Where was it found?” he asked.
“Next to the body,” Wilson said.
“Where next to the body?” asked Robinson.
“I don’t know,” Wilson said.
Robinson pursued a similar line of questioning regarding the position of Black’s body immediately after he was shot.
Other witnesses said after hearing two shots, they saw Black slump to the floor, and while some patrons restrained Rogers, others pulled Black away and began giving him first-aid cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Wilson said one of his tasks at the scene was to conduct initial interviews of some of the witnesses as troopers pieced together what happened.
One person Wilson interviewed was Kari Worth, the Fat Albert’s bartender that night, who also is Rogers’ girlfriend.
“Did she point out to you where the body was after being shot?” asked Robinson.
“No,” said Wilson.
“When you initially talked to her, did it occur to you to ask where the body was?” Robinson asked.
“Not initially,” said Wilson.
Robinson also asked a series of questions about a gouge mark in the floor believed to have been made by one of the gunshots, and a piece of wood believed to have been shot out of the floor.
“Did you tell investigator Gilmore to take a photo of the gouge and the piece of wood?” asked Robinson.
“No. I remember I pointed it out to him,” Wilson said.
“Was it preserved?” asked Robinson.
“I believe the wood chip was not,” Wilson said. “I don’t believe a section of floor with the gouge was cut out.”
Wilson answered negatively as Robinson asked more questions listing things that were not done at the scene, including photographing the hands of any patrons in the bar, fingerprinting any patrons in the bar, collecting any gunshot residue and conducting breath testing to determine if people being interviewed had been drinking.
The shooting occurred just before closing time of the bar.
Leaders questioned Wilson again following Robinson’s probe, asking once more what Wilson’s role was.
“I was to be the uniform presence and assist as I can,” said Wilson. Gilmore arrived on scene wearing a suit rather than his trooper uniform.
He said the investigating officer assigned to the case was Gilmore. After Wilson conducted some initial interviews, his job was to take the suspect to Kenai, obtain search warrants of his body and clothing, take Rogers to Wildwood Pretrial Facility after he was charged with first-degree murder and have his blood and urine samples taken at Central Peninsula Hospital.
Wilson said he had no other role in the investigation.
Witness testimony is scheduled to resume this morning at 8:30.
Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@ peninsulaclarion.com.
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