BEDFORD – Jurors heard from numerous prosecution witnesses Wednesday in the murder trial of Phillip “Butch” Deckard in Lawrence County Superior Court I.
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.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Allison Chopra first called Michelle Franklin and Jodi Endris, two IU Health Bedford Hospital emergency room registered nurses that treated Silvers when she arrived at the hospital, to the stand.
Both women testified that Silvers was severely injured and in shock when she arrived at the hospital. She had an injury to her arm and to her abdomen.
“She was bleeding profusely, there was a large wound on her arm and she was bleeding from her abdomen. She was in a grave condition,” said Franklin. “She was saying help me, I have been shot, don’t let me die.”
Endris testified Silvers was “ash colored” and “in obvious distress”.
She also testified Silvers said Deckard had shot her and said “this was no accident”.
Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Brandon Blackwell testified next, saying Silvers had told him Deckard had shot her. He testified that Silvers responded with both a verbal response and a nonverbal response, Silvers shook her head.
The conversation was recorded on the officer’s required body camera and was played for the jury.
Sgt. Blackwell also spoke to Deckard, who he said, was visibly distraught. Sgt. Blackwell told the jury Deckard was covered in Silvers’ blood because Deckard said he was trying to help Silvers and get her into the car to transport her to the hospital.
Sgt. Blackwell said Deckard told him the two had been arguing all day. Silvers also set the house on fire and broke numerous items in the home. Deckard further stated to Blackwell that Silvers then went outside and fired shots at him from a pistol. Blackwell continued his testimony and stated Deckard told him that Silvers then went back into the home where she shoved him while he was holding an AR 15 rifle, that is when the rifle went off striking Silvers.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Jan Kruse ,who is a crime scene technician, testified on the evidence found and collected at the trailer on Maul Ridge Road, where the shooting took place.
Both the pistol and shell casings, along with the AR15, and casings from that rifle were recovered from the scene.
He testified to finding the house in disarray; a broken window, a large burn pile of clothing in the yard, Silver’s suitcase packed with her clothes, items for the dog, and burnt carpet from the bedroom to the living room.
He found shell casings at the entrance of the trailer inside the front door and on the porch from the AR15 rifle and other casings from the pistol in the yard near Silver’s suitcase.
Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department Detective Capt. Jim Slone testified to statements taken from Deckard at the hospital and at the Sheriff’s Department and regarding the evidence gathered.
Slone said Deckard was distraught when he was questioned. Deckard explained the cause of the blood on him was due to him helping Silvers into the vehicle. He further stated Silvers had been shot and confirmed it was an accident.
The jury was shown the bloody clothing.
Slone testified Deckard told him the argument began because Deckard had not taken Silvers to work that morning.
Slone testified that Deckard said the argument lasted all day and resulted in both taking part in breaking personal items inside the residence. He then stated Silvers poured gasoline from the living room to the bedroom and set the bedroom on fire. Deckard told the officer he filled a tote full of water to douse the flames. Police found a 5-gallon gas can inside the trailer and Slone testified the trailer smelled of gasoline.
Silvers then allegedly retrieved a .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun, went outside and fired two shots at Deckard. Deckard told the officer he didn’t think Silvers was attempting to actually hit him. Silvers then threw the pistol into a mud puddle.
Silvers then went back inside the trailer where Deckard picked up the .223 rifle which was sitting by the door. Silvers shoved him and the rifle accidentally fired, striking Silvers.
Deckard told the officer he provided Silvers aid and put her in the car and transported her to the hospital.
Capt. Slone testified when Deckard learned that Silvers had died he became upset and cried.