During the five-day trial, prosecutors argued that eyewitness testimony and forensic evidence showed that Shepherd “formed a plan” and had intentions to shoot Miller after an argument that started when Miller passed him to grab a cigarette.
“Three witnesses have told you they saw him walk up to Miller, put the gun to his mouth, and pull the trigger,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Worm said.
But Shepherd’s defense argued that he never meant to shoot Miller.
“Two days ago, you witnessed a 50-year-old man break down and beg you to understand what happened that night was not his fault,” Defense Attorney William Roberts told the jury. “He did not have any intentions of killing Henry Miller. What he did was necessary.”
Shepherd, 50, is charged with first-degree murder while armed and five related charges in connection with his death. Miller was killed two years ago, on June 3, 2012, in the 1100 block of Chicago Street Southeast.
Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Joseph Pestaner testified Tuesday that the gunshot wound went through Miller’s teeth, causing hemorrhaging in several places, including parts of the spine and brain. Pestaner said the gunshot wound was extremely close and it is possible the gun was in Miller’s mouth due to the splitting of Miller’s lips and the location of soot deep in the tissue.
He said the injury was consistent with someone standing in front of Miller, putting the gun between Miller’s lips, and firing.
“The defendant’s words and actions let us know he was deliberate,” Worm said. “He made the decision to get in his truck close the door, not even sixty seconds later he returned. He knew what he was going to do and he did it.”
On Tuesday, Jayda Ingram testified that an argument had occurred after Miller passed by Shepherd to get a cigarette. Ingram tried to diffuse the situation, but Shepherd and Miller continued to argue as Miller walked away from the truck.
Ingram said she tried to calm Shepherd down by saying, “We’re all family.”
Shepherd echoed her, Ingram said, saying, “Yeah, we’re all family, but family can get they f**king head blown off.” Ingram said Shepherd then pulled out a gun and shot Miller in the mouth.
Ingram told Jurors she didn’t get a good look at the gun, but said she did see a flash when the gun fired.
Roberts argued that Ingram is seeking revenge against Shepherd and will protect her family at all cost.
“She blames David Shepherd for what happened,” Roberts said. “She is so invested in the protection of Henry Miller. She wouldn’t even admit to him drinking that night.”
Roberts told the jurors a medical examiner determined Miller’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.19.
“The drinking limit is 0.8, he was twice that amount.” Roberts said. “He was obliterated.”
On Wednesday, Shepherd testified that Miller was drunk, and that he told him to “sleep that stuff off.”
When he attempted to walk away from the argument, Miller followed him and pulled out a gun, Shepherd said.
Shepherd said he wanted to avoid getting shot.
“I tried to keep [Miller] from shooting me,” Shepherd said. “We were both struggling and I tried to twist it so [Miller] could drop the gun, but the gun went off.”
Worm argued that Shepherd’s “actions speak louder than words” and his story “makes no sense.” She asked jurors to deliver a verdict that she argued does makes sense: Guilty.
Defense attorneys argue Shepherd was protecting himself and now it’s the court’s duty to continue to protect him.
“He is a hard working man who found himself in a situation,” Roberts said. “What our system must not allow is his freedom to be taken.”
Additional reporting by Timothy Ryan.