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Victim's son takes the stand in W.Va. murder trial

November 16, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Seven-year-old Trejan Kidrick said he saw a gun in his father's hand moments before his father was shot in the head last summer by Edward C. Grimes.

On the witness stand Wednesday in Grimes' murder trial, Trejan confirmed he told investigators that he also saw his father, Ronald Lee Kidrick, draw his gun first.

"You think I would lie to you all?" Trejan said.

The youngster apparently was one of only two people who witnessed the early morning shooting on July 30, 2005, in the parking lot of the Relax Inn at 1022 Winchester Ave. in Martinsburg.

The other was Gabriel C. "Ziggy" McGuire, a friend of Grimes for about three years.

"It all happened so fast," said McGuire, recounting how Grimes supposedly shot Kidrick, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., in self-defense when the deceased began aiming a semiautomatic handgun at him.

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After receiving instructions this morning from 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge David H. Sanders and hearing closing arguments by the attorneys handling the case, a jury of seven women and five men is expected to decide whether or not Grimes is guilty of first- or second-degree murder, or voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, or if he is innocent and acted in self-defense.

Grimes' court-appointed attorneys, Homer A. Speaker and Steven A. Greenbaum, repeatedly have argued the self-defense claim, which appeared to surface Wednesday in Berkeley County Medical Examiner David Brining's report about the homicide.

Brining testified that his report referenced a conversation with now former Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Deputy Capt. K.C. Bohrer about the initial findings, which suggested Ronald Kidrick was the aggressive actor in the shooting, not Grimes, now 24.

Bohrer on Wednesday acknowledged that account was not part of his police report.

"I do not recall telling (Brining) who pulled which gun first," said Bohrer Wednesday after being called to the witness stand.

Bohrer suggested Brining might have made a mistake and wrongly attributed the account of the shooting to him, but could not dispute the apparent contradiction between his grand jury testimony about Kidrick's death and the boy's testimony on Wednesday.

"I heard what you heard today, sir," Bohrer said in response to Speaker's questions about the grand jury proceedings. "He said he saw a firearm."

A transcribed account of the grand jury proceedings in February indicates Bohrer told jurors that neither Trejan Kidrick nor his brother, Christopher Davis, 13, saw the weapon being deployed or shown by the victim just before the shooting. Both boys were outside the motel room where they were staying with their mother, Mary Davis, and Grimes, her boyfriend.

McGuire said he arrived at the motel after Grimes called him and asked him for a ride from the motel.

Davis testified that Grimes had wanted to leave after a heated telephone conversation with the victim, who other witnesses testified was out partying at clubs earlier in the night and had ingested cocaine and consumed alcohol.

"(Grimes) just told me he would be back in the morning," Davis said. She said she didn't know where he was going.

After one arrangement for transportation fell through, McGuire said he convinced another unnamed person who drove a small black pickup to pick them up.

He and Grimes were about to leave when Kidrick arrived at the motel, McGuire said.

McGuire said Kidrick hopped out of a car and began walking toward him and Grimes, who were standing near the motel's southern entrance off Winchester Avenue.

Moments after Kidrick aimed the gun at them, Grimes reached for his gun and fired a single round with 5 or 6 feet separating them, McGuire testified.

As Kidrick was dying, McGuire said Grimes fled south along Winchester Avenue, and he jumped in the back of the waiting truck in a neighboring motel parking lot and left.

Left to comfort Kidrick were Mary Davis, her sons and Christopher Petrucci, who gave the victim a ride to the motel.

"He knew (that) if I knew he had a gun, we would have never left" Shepherdstown, testified Petrucci, who said he only was familiar with Kidrick's estranged relationship with Mary Davis, not Grimes.

"I didn't see any kind of conflict whatsoever."

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