Asst. Police Chief Emotional On Day 1 Of Murder Trial In Tecumseh Officer's Death
TECUMSEH, Oklahoma - The man accused of shooting and killing a Tecumseh police officer had his first day in court Wednesday.
Byron Shepard is accused in the murder of officer Justin Terney. Shepard faces the death penalty if found guilty.
It was March 26, 2017 when Officer Terney pulled over a vehicle for a defective tail light in Tecumseh's city limits.
Brooklyn Williams, Shepard's girlfriend, was driving the vehicle. Shepard was the only passenger in the vehicle.
Williams was found guilty of second-degree murder.
Dashcam video shows Shepard give Officer Terney false names before fleeing the traffic stop on foot.
Shepard had warrants out for his arrest.
Dashcam video shows Officer Terney chase Shepard into a field, where he was eventually shot. Shepard was also shot in the exchange.
Terney did deploy a taser.
Tecumseh's assistant chief of police, Mike Mallinson, testified in court Wednesday. He said he was first on scene following the shooting and watched Terney turn blue and loose conscious.
Mallinson choked up several times during his testimony.
"You can tell as Assistant Chief Mallinson is testifying, just the emotions in the courtroom," said Tecumseh Chief of Police J.R. Kidney. "You can see people feeling, living the pain that he is feeling. I think they are getting a deeper understanding of what took place that night."
Prosecutors brought Terney's uniform into court. It faced jurors all day. It was an effort to bring members back in time.
"In the heat of the moment that would have been tough to see, but they did prepare us," said Kidney. "I feel like it is a good tool to be used during the trial to demonstrate the areas where Justin was shot that night."
The trial is expected to last multiple weeks. Kidney said he plans to attend each day he can in support of Terney's family.
The current county district attorney had a conflict of interest in the case, so Cleveland County District Attorney, Greg Mashburn, has taken over the prosecution.
His team plans to focus on what happened that night, Shepard's criminal history and a phone call made in jail that could be pivotal in the case.
The trial continues Thursday morning.