Munday's mental state is focus of testimony

October 23, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

Jurors hearing the trial of David Eugene Munday went Wednesday morning to the spot where West Virginia State Police Trooper R.J. "Bobby" Elswick was shot last year, where they checked out the crime scene, took notes and asked questions.

Munday, 38, of Hedgesville, W.Va., faces 28 felony and misdemeanor charges that stem from events leading to and including the Oct. 10, 2002, shooting. Charges include three counts of kidnapping, six counts of wanton endangerment and four counts of attempted murder.

The trial, which began with a daylong jury selection process Tuesday, is expected to continue today.

Reserve deputies took the jurors - seven women, five men and two women alternates - to Harper Lane, a gravel road in Hedgesville. Before the jurors arrived a state trooper placed small orange cones around spots of significance, including the place where Elswick fell. That cone sat in a strip of grass between the road and a copse of brush and small trees.


Jurors also walked around two trailers, one of which was previously occupied by Munday and his girlfriend, and the other in which Sandra and Johnny Lambert live. Before Elswick was shot, police allege, Munday held the Lamberts and their teenage daughter hostage, shot at them and threatened to kill them.

Munday, wearing gray slacks, a gray button-down shirt and a navy blue blazer, also was at the scene. When Circuit Judge David Sanders told jurors the scene had changed slightly, referring to a split rail fence no longer in place, Munday nodded and motioned with his arms to show jurors where the fence had been.

Elswick did not go to the scene.

Jurors walked along a path through nearby woods, where police allege Munday waited for officers to arrive. Munday also ran along the path after Elswick was shot, police said.

After visiting the scene and eating lunch, jurors heard testimony from three witnesses, including Marta Archer, a social worker with Frederick County (Md.) Mental Health Services.

Because of scheduling conflicts of mental health professionals for both the defense and the prosecution, Wednesday's three witnesses were called out of turn. Two were defense witnesses and one was a prosecution witness.

Archer said she started seeing Munday in March 2000.

Although Munday sat stiffly and donned a facial expression that was difficult to read on his first visit, on the second visit he opened up and cried, Archer said.

In the courtroom, as he listened to Archer, Munday sniffled and wiped his face with a tissue as Archer related that story.

Drugs, abuse

Archer said Munday began drinking when he was around 11 years old and started using marijuana shortly afterward. He grew up in a violent household and once witnessed his mother chasing his father with a loaded gun, Archer said.

Munday's father beat him with his hands, belts and baseball bats, knocking him unconscious at least once, she said.

"He was the subject of schoolyard taunts," she said, all of which caused Munday to adopt a tough demeanor.

Archer eventually diagnosed Munday as being bipolar, along with having social anxiety disorder, an alcohol dependence and a marijuana dependence.

On cross-examination, Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely asked Archer whether she had been able to verify any of Munday's claims. Archer said she had not.

While taking medication for bipolar disorder, Munday's symptoms and mood improved, Archer said. He spoke of carpentry, which he loved, and of trying to repair the relationship with his wife, she said.

Post-traumatic stress

The second witness called by Munday's defense attorneys was Gary McDaniel, a social worker with EastRidge Health Systems in Martinsburg.

After spending four hours interviewing Munday, McDaniel diagnosed him as having post-traumatic stress disorder, he said.

To be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, one must have suffered from a terrorizing event; suffer "intrusive recall," which could include nightmares or flashbacks; avoid authority figures or those who might be considered a threat; and suffer from "heightened arousal," such as an inability to sleep, difficulty sitting with one's back to a door and an exaggerated startle response, McDaniel said.

Munday shows all those symptoms, McDaniel said.

When defense attorney Margaret Gordon asked McDaniel how he knows Munday did not make things up, McDaniel replied that Munday has been telling the same story for years.

"He's not a terribly bright individual," McDaniel said, meaning it is unlikely he would plan such a story years in advance.

Later McDaniel said that Munday is "not a terribly sane individual."

On the night of Oct. 10, Munday had been drinking and smoking marijuana, was upset and suffering the effects of lifelong trauma, McDaniel said.

When confronted by several state troopers, Munday acted irrationally by raising his rifle toward them, McDaniel testified.

"It's outrageous behavior. It's insane behavior," he said.

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