Jurors hear opening statements in the murder trial of Phillip Deckard

BEDFORD – Opening statements and testimony began today in the murder trial of Phillip “Butch” Deckard in Lawrence County Superior Court I.

Phillip “Butch” Deckard

Judge John Plummer III is presiding. The trial is being live-streamed at this link.

Deckard, 58, is accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend Charlene Silvers after a domestic dispute on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, at the home the couple shared at 2738 Maul Ridge Road. Officials say Deckard and Silvers had a 13-year relationship. Silvers died from her injuries on Thursday, August 27, 2020, at 7:24 p.m.

Charlene Silvers

Lawrence County Prosecutor Sam Arp began opening statements sharing his first deer hunting experience with his father-in-law.

“You will have to follow some tracks to get to the truth,” said Arp. “Specifically Phillip Deckard’s tracks, who is charged with the murder of Charlene Silvers.”

Arp said Silvers had packed her belongings and gathered items for her dog and was attempting to leave the home when she was shot by Deckard.

Arp shared with jurors there is a difference between evidence and argument.

“Argument is persuasion, the evidence is facts,” said Arp. “Don’t focus on the wrong set of tracks. If you are hunting deer and you start following duck tracks and feathers, you will end up with a duck and not a deer. Follow the tracks the defendant (Deckard) left behind. The defendant killed Charlene Silvers.”

Defense Attorney John Boren titled the trial a Temper Tantrum on Maul Ridge Road.

Boren told the jury, that temper tantrum was brought on by an argument over drugs.

“This was a 3 1/2 hour tantrum that left the trailer in a mess,” said Boren. “Charlene Silvers attempted to set the trailer on fire, was throwing dishes, breaking furniture, tipped over the television and broke it and shot at Butch twice with a .25-caliber pistol. This war went on all day.”

Attorney Boren showed the jury a hospital document where the doctor noted that Silvers had told her the shooting was accidental. It also noted Silvers had ingested meth.

Numerous times during Attorney Boren’s opening statements Chief Deputy Prosecutor Allison Chopra objected, however, Judge Plummer overruled those objections.

After opening statements witnesses for the state began their testimonies.