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Defense Says There Is No Evidence Linking Spengler To Murders

Last updated on Monday, May 14, 2012

(SALEM) - The state tried to establish its contention that two weapons were fired at Roy and Tim M. Orman and that two people fired those weapons as the double murder trial of Tammy Spengler continued Friday morning in Washington Circuit Court.

Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, of the Leader-Democrat, reports that Defense Attorney David Smith tried to show there was no direct evidence Spengler was in the room when the murders occurred.

The two men, brothers who were in their mid-50s, were shot to death in June 2011. The Orman brothers were found about two weeks after their deaths, wrapped in bedsheets, tarps and garbage bags, in a shed. Each had been shot at least twice with a shotgun and Timothy M. Orman had been possibly been shot with another weapon as well.

Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Amy Beckham, a forensic pathologist from the Kentucky Medical Examiner's Office, to testified Roy Orman's shirt had been shot in the lower back and abdomen. Images and x-rays of his face show a fractured jaw and another high concentration of birdshot in the jaw area and in his right upper chest.

Timothy M. Orman fared worse than his brother. There were two holes in the right sleeve of his t-shirt and another on his left that Beckham said "could be consistent with a slug projectile." Larger projectile pieces were found in the body bag and the area around the right arm. There was birdshot in his left hand, along with advanced fractures, and in his face, where the AME determined he had been shot with a shotgun. She stated that this shot would have likely been the kill shot, and it is impossible to determine if this was after the other gunshot wounds or before.

Craig said the wound in Timothy Orman's head indicated that ammunition had entered the skull near where his left ear would have been and appeared to have exited through the area where the right side of his jaw would have joined the skull. She could not tell if more ammunition hit the skull because large fragments of the skull were missing.

Beckham had declared the cause of death for both brothers to have been due to multiple gunshot wounds, Roy Orman with a shotgun and Timothy Orman with a shotgun and another firearm which has not been identified.

The gun from which the deadly shots were fired has never been found, although numerous guns were recovered from the property.

Discussing the autopsies, State Police Crime Scene Investigator Darryl Terrell said the bodies had evidence of two different types of ammunition; buckshot and slugs. Prosecutor Dustin Houchin asked Terrell about the fact that the empty casings from the shots weren't recovered at the scene. "Those spent casings had to be removed from the scene," Terrell testified.

Houchin questioned Terrell regarding how many shots he believed had been fired at the two victims. Based on the autopsies, a minimum of two shots were fired at each one, plus there was evidence two shots had hit the inside of a door where the alleged murders occurred. "It could be as high as eight," said Terrell.

With the average shotgun holding a maximum of four rounds, one would have to reload to reach six or eight shots, Terrell said. The shots were fired from a 12-gauge shotgun and while one was recovered at the scene, it was tested and found not to be the murder weapon.

Police did recover the sawed off barrel of a shotgun, but did not find the gun matching it. Under questioning by the state, he said a sawed off shotgun is easier to conceal and maneuver, especially within the confines of a house.

Terrell testified that local law enforcement officers briefed him on the domestic issues between Timothy M. Orman and his son, Timothy R. Orman, who is also charged in the case and is to be tried separately. "They had an on and off again relationship," he said. Roy Orman had obtained protective orders prohibiting his nephew and Spengler from having contact with him. During Terrell's testimony, it was noted that every room inside the house was locked and that nearly all the locks had been broken. "You would have to be trying to bust them open on purpose," Terrell said.

The defendant, 24, is a small, petite woman. Her attorney indicated she wouldn't be capable of accurately firing a 12-gauge shotgun and questioned Terrell regarding that. Terrell testified that a degree of physical strength and coordination is needed. "It's hard to answer. My son was 7 or eight the first time he fired one." And while the kick didn't knock the child down, Terrell said, "He didn't want any more of it."

Houchin, on redirect, asked Terrell, "Is a young adult woman capable of firing a shotgun?

"Yes, she is," he replied.

The trial continues today.

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