Testimony begins in W.Va. shooting trial

July 12, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
File photos

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Stephen K. Slone testified Tuesday in Berkeley County Circuit Court that his ex-wife's last words were vicious after she shot him at his home on Oct. 21, 2009, and then fled.

Flor Demaria Slone, 42, was indicted on felony counts of kidnapping, attempted first-degree murder, attempted malicious assault and malicious assault in connection with the incident.

A jury of eight men and four women was sworn in Tuesday morning for Slone's trial, which attorneys suggested could continue into next week.

Slone is accused of shooting her ex-husband after learning he had removed her from his life-insurance policy. Stephen Slone also testified that he took steps to remove her from his employer-provided health insurance policy after he moved out of their Jefferson County home to a two-bedroom residence at 5409 Winchester Ave. in Berkeley County.

Hours before the shooting at his home, Slone testified that his wife was acting out of character and was angry and "just beside herself" about the insurance issue.

The evening he was shot, Slone testified that he was shocked when he opened the door of his residence to see Flor pointing a gun at him that was in a plastic grocery bag.

"I said: 'What's all this about?'" Slone recalled.

Thinking he could diffuse the situation, Slone said he allowed her into the home, but was unsuccessful in calming her down.

Slone said he was seated in a light brown recliner in the corner of the living room when Flor approached, fired a .22-caliber pistol into a square pillow that she held up near him and then fired the gun a second time after the first shot did not go through the cushion.

The second shot, Slone said, went through his right shoulder and exited his back.

Slone testified she then said, "Die you bastard ..." before leaving the house.

In cross-examination, defense attorney Thomas L. Stanley had Stephen Slone sit in the chair for the jury, which was carted into the courtroom for the trial, and recount how the shooting happened.  

Slone's testimony appeared in conflict with neighbor Stephanie Agnew, who said that he told her that the defendant was upset about the insurance policy matter and she was going to bring a gun over to the house.

Agnew said she went to bed about 8 p.m. and figured everything was OK after the vehicle that Flor Slone drove to the residence remained there for an extended period of time.

About 10 to 15 minutes after going to bed, Agnew said she heard someone banging on the door and subsequently found Stephen Slone outside on their stoop, bleeding and upset.

"Me and my husband were kind of freaked out," said Agnew, who called 911.

The recordings of the communications that she and her husband had with 911 dispatchers were played for the jury, and Stephen Slone could be heard repeatedly moaning in the background.

Jurors were shown more than 20 crime-scene photographs taken by West Virginia State Police Sgt. J.D. Burkhart that depicted significant blood was shed inside and outside the victim's residence.

Other photographs shown documented the location of the .22-caliber pistol on the living-room floor, a plastic bag with a spent cartridge inside and a second spent shell casing that fell out of the gun when Burkhart said he picked up the weapon to make sure it was clear of ammunition.

In her opening statement, Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely began by telling jurors that divorce is "an ugly business, so is separation."

Stephen Slone acknowledged he started seeing another woman, Sandy Kilpatrick, who he met from work at Richard F. Kline Inc. in Frederick Md. Since the shooting, Slone also confirmed his conviction for robbing a bank in Inwood, W.Va., and subsequently attempt to commit suicide at Eastern Regional Jail.

Defense attorney Thomas L. Stanley suggested his client was framed by the victim and said in opening statements that the Slones' marriage was built on a lie that grew larger over their approximately 16 years together.

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