The jury trial of Mark Wilson for the murder of Patricia Brown entered its second day with the prosecution presenting video of his interrogation.
Wilson, 54, admitted to shooting and killing Brown when he was arrested on March 24, 2018. Brown shot the 75-year-old woman in the back of the head with a .22 caliber rifle.
James Archibald, Wilson’s defense attorney, openly admitted his client shot and killed Brown. He argued, however, that Wilson should be sentenced for manslaughter, not first-degree murder, and that his actions were the result of a mix of alcohol and medication, not premeditation.
Custer County Prosecutor Justin Oleson called former Custer County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Michael Talbot to continue his testimony from Monday. Oleson asked Talbot if Wilson and Brown were in a relationship. Talbot said it was unclear.
Talbot said he smelled alcohol on Wilson during the arrest. He testified there was one beer can in the living room, but none in the kitchen.
Sgt. Levi Maydole, the officer who interrogated Wilson, was called next. Maydole said Wilson was slurring words and appeared drunk when he was arrested, but he also seemed aware of his surroundings. Maydole said he gave Wilson a breathalyzer that showed his blood-alcohol content was .116.
Oleson played body camera footage of Maydole’s for the court. Wilson admits to shooting Brown in the footage, as he had multiple times previously.
Wilson said in the footage he had 10 to 12 beers that day. He is seen talking to Maydole about his depression and frustration in life.
During opening statements, Oleson contrasted Wilson with his victim in terms of respectability: Brown, the Vietnam veteran, well liked and well known in the community, and Wilson, the unemployed man living in her house.
Wilson said he had been frustrated by his struggles to find work, telling Maydole he had no skills.
When pressed on why he shot Brown, Wilson said he did not know, that it happened in a split second.
“I don’t know for sure why it happened,” Wilson said.
Oleson also called several witnesses who attempted to treat Brown. Custer County Coroner Chad Workman said she was alive when emergency responders came to the house. Workman concluded her death was a homicide.
When medical responders arrived, Brown’s throat was filling with blood from the gunshot wound. Emergency medical responders, including Workman, attempted to suction the blood so she could breathe and survive until a Lifeflight helicopter could take her to a hospital. But Brown died before she could be transported.
Workman’s testimony was interrupted by several objections from Archibald, who argued Oleson had not established that Workman possessed the expertise to state how she died. District Judge Stevan Thompson sustained several of those objections, suggesting Oleson could ask a pathologist scheduled to testify tomorrow the same questions. Oleson was allowed to ask Workman what he believed caused Brown’s death, with Workman saying it was the gunshot wound.
Thomas Fife, a physician’s assistant who responded to the scene, said the medical team attempted to use a breathing tube to sustain Brown but couldn’t due to the damage caused by the bullet.
Brown was taken to a clinic and had to wait for the helicopter to arrive for more than 90 minutes after she was shot. Fife testified Brown might have been saved if she had been taken into surgery earlier. However, he said, she displayed no higher brain functions beyond breathing and would have likely been brain dead. Workman declared her deceased at 5:50 p.m.
Oleson is scheduled to continue his case Wednesday. After he rests, Archibald can present a defense, including potentially calling Wilson to testify.
Wilson is charged with first-degree murder, punishable with a minimum of 10 years in prison and up to a life sentence. Oleson chose not to pursue the death penalty before the trial began.
Oleson also included a deadly weapons enhancement with the charge, which adds a potential extra 15 years to any sentence.
The trial is expected to last three to five days.