Paralyzed from the chest down and now in a wheel chair, Robbie Case testified in District Court Wednesday giving his account of the events that led to his shooting in September.
Accused of shooting Case is Mark Abshire. He is charged with shooting with intent to kill.
Two witnesses for the prosecution testified at his preliminary hearing which was continued to March 28.
Case and Sheriff’s Chief Investigator Darrin Hester testified in front of Judge Joe Smith, telling how the alleged crime occurred and what witnesses stated at the scene.
An emotional Case described two bullets that entered his body that night after what appears to be a confrontation between neighbors during Labor Day Weekend 2007.
“The first shot hurt. It wasn’t that bad,” a tearful Case told the court. “The second shot — I felt my body go numb and I couldn’t move.
“At that point, I thought I was dying.”
Case described the first shot, allegedly fired by Abshire, as entering his chest and exiting his body near his collar bone. The second shot was what Case said caused him to become paralyzed, as it entered his spine.
“The bullet is still in my spine because they can’t remove it,” Case said. He added that he spent one month in a Tulsa hospital and then several months in rehabilitation.
The accounts of what occurred that night include Case’s family and friends participating in what he described as four-wheeling in two Jeeps before returning to his neighborhood where the confrontation and eventual shooting occurred.
According to Case, he and two passengers were in his Jeep while his uncle and another passenger were driving ahead in a second Jeep. The two vehicles were driving through the neighborhood of Cedar Bluff, off Highway 20 west of Claremore. Case said he and his wife had invited some friends over that evening for a barbeque and were drinking beer.
While driving to his home, Case said he heard people at the Abshire home “yelling stuff at us” when one of his passengers said something had been thrown at the vehicle. Case said he turned the Jeep around to “find out why they were yelling at us.”
Abshire told deputies that Case and his passengers had sped through the neighborhood earlier that night and had yelled at him and his guests. That’s when he stated he retrieved a can of Mace and a handgun before returning outside.
Case testified that he heard the Abshires and their guests yelling “stop,” and “slow down” when they drove back through the neighborhood around midnight. But later changed his testimony stating he did not know what was being yelled.
In the next few minutes in front of the Abshire home, where Case had stopped his Jeep and his uncle and his passenger had returned, Case said things got out of hand.
“I stayed in the car, and I could hear a lot of yelling behind the Jeep,” Case said. “Then I heard one of my friends and family say they had been sprayed with Mace. That’s when I got out of the car, took my shirt off and covered my face.”
Case said he thought Abshire had attempted to Mace him as well, but “it didn’t affect me because I had my shirt over my face.” Once out of the car, Case said Abshire met him with a spotlight in his face and what he thought was a can of Mace, and took action.
“I ran and tackled him and took him to the ground,” Case testified. “Then (Abshire) got up, and I was laying half in the culvert there at the driveway and half in the driveway. That’s when he fired the first shot that went into my chest.
“I turned over and tried to crawl away and that’s when the second shot hit me in the back.” Case said that at that point, Abshire was standing in his driveway.
Defense attorney Jack Gordon Jr. maintains his client had a right to use his .40-caliber handgun that night, being on his own property and protecting himself and others at his home, including three children.
Gordon said before the hearing that Abshire should not have been charged and arrested because he was protecting himself and referred to the “stand your ground law” that states a person, “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or grat bodily harm ... or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
In addition, the state statute protects the person using force in the above stated manner from criminal prosecution and civil action.
During cross-examination of Hester, Gordon mentioned the law.
“Are you familiar with the stand your ground law,” Gordon asked. Hester acknowledged he was.
“Yet you still chose to arrest Mr. Abshire?” Gordon asked.
“Yes, I did,” Hester replied.
Hester also testified that even though other officers and investigators at the scene had questioned witnesses, he did not know whether written statements had been taken or if reports had been filed by those officers. Gordon maintains some of the witness statements were not written and were not reflected in the case file.
Hester added that none of the officers interviewed the guests at the Abshire house that night until a later date. Case was also not interviewed that night, but several days later, when he was able to speak from his hospital bed.
When the preliminary hearing continues March 28, Smith will decide whether a new charge of maiming will be added to Abshire’s case. Assistant District Attorney Jenny Sanbrano made a motion to add the new charge Wednesday due to testimony from Case at the hearing.
In addition, Gordon said he plans to call several of the state’s witnesses — namely passengers in the Case vehicle — to testify to their written statements, which he says differ from Case’s testimony.