"A Dayton man, found guilty of first degree murder last week after a six day trial in Third Judicial District Court in Yerington, has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole (with parole available after a minimum of 20 years served).
A seven-woman, five-man jury returned the guilty verdict against Christopher Deyerle, 26, who was charged in connection with the May, 2006, murder of his wife, Heather......
Also prior to the penalty phase of the case, defense attorney John Schlegelmilch argued against the use of penalty phase testimony being allowed from a former girlfriend, the mother of one of Deyerle's children, and about prior acts of alleged abuse from Deyerle, charging that notification wasn't offered, as the State had withdrawn Jessie Wilkinson as a witness for the trial and, as a result, he didn't expect her to be called as a penalty phase witness.
Schlegelmilch argued he could call at least one woman who had a relationship with Deyerle to testify he never was abusive or violent toward her, but that he didn't have time to get her there that day. He also asked for a continuance, saying she could come but would have to arrange time off work. Judge Estes denied the request; however the woman, Jamie Sherman, was allowed to testify on behalf of the defense over the phone........
Deyerle, who took the stand on the final full day of the trial, said he simply "lost it" the day of the shooting---after an argument with his wife about his spending and lack of a job, and during which, he testified, she revealed a relationship with another man, He testified after the shooting he didn't think he'd killed Heather and was simply scared and ran after her father came out of the house.
The argument both during trial and during closing arguments was not whether Deyerle committed the act, but whether he did it in a fit of passion or with aforethought. The difference determined first or second degree charges and, as a result, the sentence for the defendant.
During the closing statements, District Attorney Robert Auer argued the defendant was possessive of Heather and had told several people of his intent to kill her if she was caught cheating on him.
The crux, of the case rested in the moments leading up to the shooting and whether a final fatal shot occurred, Auer argued, charging Deyerle had walked up and shot Heather in the head after a previous bullet had knocked her to the ground. The defendant's attorney, though, said witnesses recalled hearing successions of rapid gunshots rather than several shots followed by a single shot.
Schlegelmilch also contended the defendant was arguing with Heather, and she said something to infuriate him and push him over the edge.
Auer contended at least two neutral witnesses saw no provocation; and lastly, he questioned why the defendant did not simply leave when the first rapid shots missed Heather, charging that lended (that is what the article in the newspaper said folks) support to a calculated killing.
Schlegelmilch countered that the victims father described Deyerle as appearing scared in the driveway immediately afterward; and that after the defendant ran away, and upon his arrest near the Carson River, he first inquired about Heather's health, which indicates Deyerle did not mean to kill Heather.
Testifying on behalf of the victim in the penalty phase were her father, mother, younger brother, her step-brother and a friend.
Testifying for the defense in the penalty phase were Deyerle's mother, a close friend, his grandmother and grandfather. His friend testified that Deyerle had a tough early life, including a brother who abused him, and that he had been diagnosed with ADHD and a learning disability. She said he had never been violent.....Schlegelmilch asked family members if Deyerle had ever expressed anything other than regret about the killing of his wife, and they all said no. "
Not verbatim, but a summary for you.
My question is what would make someone think, even in a fit of passion, that shooting at someone, other than in self defense, was an option. Which is why I have read a lot of crime books and watch so many of the crime and detective shows on TV. For years I have thought that along with the reading, writing and arithmetic, the subject of human decency and respect should be a required subject in the curriculum of all schools, starting in the earliest grades, everywhere. Perhaps the UN could work on that.