Emotional Testimony Continues In Day 2 Of Wyman Trial
Utica, NY (WIBX) - Today was day two of the trail of Christian Patterson, the man who stands accused of murdering Oneida County Sheriff’s Deputy Kurt Wyman. Prosecutors called eight witnesses to testify. They ranged from the investigators dispatched to the scene, the paramedic who treated Patterson and the doctor who performed the autopsy on Wyman.
Forensic Patologist, Michael Sikirica, testified that Wyman received several severe injuries, even though he was shot once with a shot gun slug. “There was several areas of injury. The most serious was a large wound about eight-by-seven centimeters in size along the front of the neck and extending down upward into the chin area, with several additional small abrassions around it along the left and right cheek,” he said. Also, he added that Wyman’s left collar bone was fractured, and his left index finger was severed due to the gun shot blast, that was determined to have hit his hands first. Sikirica said the shrapnel from the slug then traveled backwards toward Wyman’s neck and shoulder area.
The witnesses called to the stand were, Deputy Mark Chryler, who continued his testimony from yesterday. Deputy Nicholas A. Leone, a certified Evidence Technician who was called in to help process the crime scene. He told the jury about the evidence he collected at the scene for three days. At one point, Leone became emotional when he was asked to describe a crime scene photo showing Wyman’s blood and what was referred to as “bodily matter.” He also talked about all the weapons found in the home. During cross examination, Leone seemed agitated by defense attorney, Frank Nebush’s line of questioning.
The next witnessed called to the stand was Investigator, Timothy Klock, also with the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office. Klock is also a certified Evidence Technician. He talked about the evidence he collected, which included the bullet fragments found during postmortem examination of Wyman, and the bullet fragments from Patterson’s two surgeries.
OCSD, Sgt. Peter Health, took the stand next and told the jury that he was also a certified ET or Evidence Specialist. He addressed some of the items found in the home that were collected as evidence. One item, which was brought up during cross examination, were the three letters addressed to Patterson and Secor that were found on the refrigerator door of the house, and on the floor. They were score cards from the Vernon National Shooting Preserve.
Witness number five was Investigator, David P. Nowakowski. He testified that he received specialized training organized by the FBI in Syracuse in 2004 as a Hostage Negotiator. He said he received a call about a domestic dispute on Knoxville Road, “A little after 8:00 p.m.” He said he also learned from the radio communication that the subject was armed. He arrived on the scene between 8:30 and 8:45 p.m. He said other officers had just arrived on the scene minutes before he did. He testified that he saw Deputies, Wyman and Chrysler in the driveway of the home with their weapons drawn, pointing toward the garage.
Nowakowski said he took his binoculars out to see what was going on. He said he saw Patterson standing in the garage with a gun and his finger on the trigger. He then asked Deputy Bauer to get more information about the situation from Secor, who was inside her neighbor’s home across the street. He testified that he made his way toward the home, taking cover behind a tree on the property. He said he could hear Deputy Mark Chrysler tell Patterson–who they werre referring to as “Chris”–to drop his weapon. He said Chrysler was also attempting to engage him in conversation, asking him about hunting. Nowakowski said he was given a piece a paper with Patterson’s cell phone number, which he tried calling, but realized that it was no use because Patterson was not near his cell phone.
Nowakowski said at this time he moved closer to the home behind the two patrol vehicles in the driveway. He then took over the the negotiation and introduced himself to Patterson. He asked how he could help him and bring a peaceful resolution to the situation. He said Patterson was agitated and only gave short responses to questions like, “Nope”. He said Patterson still had his finger on the trigger. Nowakowski said, “I asked him his name and he said, ‘You already know.’” He said Patterson then mentioned that he had about three or four thousand dollars in the home and said that it “belonged to her” and “you can’t touch it.” When asked who “her” was, Patterson supposedly replied, “You already know.” he said his continued request for Patterson to drop his weapon was met with, “That’s not happening,” and “Nope.”
After sometime attempting to negotiate a peaceful resolution, Nowakowski said he was tapped on the shoulder by Deputy Nelson–also a trained negotiator with the OCSD–and told him he was there for assistance. He told Nelson that so far there was no positive reaction from Patterson. The stand-off continued with Wyman, Chrysler and Nowakowski still trying to get Patterson to put his weapon down. Nowakowski testified that Patterson’s right hand was always on the trigger. He was then asked to unload the weapon. According to Nowakowski, Patterson laughed. He was then asked if he loaded it correctly and Patterson replied, “Yes, and there’s five more in my pocket and now you know.”
Patterson was offered food, water and cigarettes but refused in short, “Nope” responses. Nowakowski said Patterson smoked several cigarettes during the stand-off, even though when asked if he smoked he said, “No.” He said Patterson did everything with his left hand, keeping his right hand on the trigger. Around 10:00 or 10:30 p.m. the Emergency Response Team, (ERT) arrived on the scene. They had less-than-lethal weapons on them. They tried entering the residence, but were unsuccessful. It was also learned during Nowakowski’s testimony that there were no lights on in the garage were Patterson was hold up, and police were using flash lights when it got dark. Patterson who started moving around in a stool he was sitting in, told police that he knew they were in the house. He was given several commands to stop moving around and to stop moving the weapons around. Nowakowski said as the night progressed, he thought Patterson was attempting to, “commit suicide by cop.”
By 2:00 a.m. Nowakowski said there was a change in Patterson’s demeanor. He became more distant and was barely responding to the officers. “Maybe only 10-percent of the time,” Nowakowski said. He said, “My honest opinion, he was getting ready to do something.” It was decided that if Patterson separated from his weapon, officers would use the less-then-lethal weapons on him. “If he put the weapon under his chin,” Nowakowski said. He added that the aim was to try and save his life.
At this point, Patterson got up and pushed the stool he was sitting in toward the back of the garage, using his feet. According to Nowakowski, there was then talk about moving Wyman’s patrol car in order to get a spot light on Patterson and his weapon. He said officers advised Patterson that they were going to move the vehicle in his driveway, to which he responded, “Do what you gotta do.” Nowakowski then got into the vehicle and started moving it forward. Nowakowski said Nelson then directed him to stop the vehicle and put it in park. He said, “That’s when I heard to my left, ‘Do it now,’ Do it now!’ He said, ” As soon as I heard that, I looked in the garage area and heard, ‘Poof,’ ‘Poof.” He said it was the non-lethal weapons going off.
Nowakowski said he witnessed the ammunition travel and strike Patterson, who then fell backwards off the stool and on to the ground. “He still had his shot gun in his left hands, he was not separated from the gun,” he said. Nowakowski told the jury that he was still in the patrol car he was moving closer to the garage for better lighting. He said he was attempting to get out of the vehicle, but saw Patterson aim his weapon at him. “He was about 15 feet away from me,” he said.
When asked what happened next, the court room fell silent as Nowakowski worked to gain his composure. He became emotional and teary eyed. He continued, “I began to draw my weapon and use the door handle to get out. Then I see Kurt in the opening of the garage.” He said Wyman entered the threshold of the garage opening. “I saw a large flash … the bang was so tremendous, I felt it in my chest … It was a direct hit to Kurt,” he said. The next question was, “Did he go down?” To which Nowakowski responded, “I see him fall directly into the garage opening.” He said he also heard a couple of things hit the vehicle that he was still sitting in. He said he then drew his weapon and fired through the window of the patrol car. He told the court that he did not remember how many shots he fired. He said Patterson got another shot off before he was able to fire his weapon.
During this emotional testimony, the court room was filled with sounds of Wyman’s family and friends crying and wiping tears from their faces. Nowakowski said, “I could not leave him in the door way.” He said he tried to get to Wyman by running toward him once he got out of the patrol car. He said Deputy Chrysler was also running toward Wyman yelling, “Officer Down.” Nowakowski said he then saw two hands coming from the garage and pull Wyman from the threshold. When asked if he took cover as he ran toward the garage after Wyman was shot, Nowakowski said, “I ran straight in. I did the same thing Kurt did.”
Nowakowski said he also saw Patterson push his weapon away. He was then handcuffed and shackled. He said when he went to check on Wyman, “I saw a massive wound to his neck.” He said he heard other officers yelling, “Don’t leave us! Stay with us Kurt!” Nowakowski said when he saw Wyman’s wound, he knew he was not going to make it. He said he then reached out and touched his leg and said, “I’m sorry.”
During cross examination of Nowakowski, the defense tried to show that proper procedure was not followed, and seemed to suggest that toward the end of the stand-off, due to the lack of communication among the officers, the situation quickly escalated. Nebush asked if Patterson threatened any of the officers, to which Nowakowski said, “No,” and that Patterson told them that he did not intend to hurt anyone. Nebush also pointed out during cross examination that Nowakowski was not a trained member of the ERT, and that his role was supposed to be that of negotiator, to have dialogue with a subject and work together to peacefully resolve things. He was also asked about firing his weapon through the patrol vehicle and if that was something he trained for. Nowakowski said he was trying to save Wyman’s life. He was also asked if he knew where his bullets landed, to which he answered, “No.” Also, Nebush asked if he realized that he put other officers at risk when he was firing toward the garage, and Nowakowski again said he was trying to protect himself and other officers who were coming under fire. Nebush told Nowakowski that one of his bullets landed on the roof of the house.
Nowakowski told the jury that he did not know officers were going to fire at Patterson while he was still moving the police car. He had a hard time admitting that he felt let down by other officers, or that he believed that he was put in harms way when pressed by Nebush. However, Nowakowski said that he was not prepared for what transpired after he was asked to move patrol vehicle 462 closer to the garage. Nebush reminded Nowakowski about previous statements he made, saying that he felt “screwed” because he was directly in the line of fire. Day three of testimony resumes tomorrow morning.