published Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Witness resumes testimony in Myles Stout murder trial today

Myles Stout sits at the defense table during jury selection Tuesday in Judge Barry Steelman's courtroom.
Myles Stout sits at the defense table during jury selection Tuesday in Judge Barry Steelman's courtroom.
Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Moments before Myles Stout shot an 18-year-old in the chest, he first pointed the .40-caliber handgun at Amanda Freeman's head and smiled, the woman testified Wednesday.

Freeman will resume her testimony this morning before Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman in Stout's second-degree murder trial. He's charged with killing Myles Compton, 18, on March 9, 2011.

Stout has not denied shooting Compton but says it was an accident.

Toward the end of questions Wednesday by prosecutor Lance Pope, Freeman became emotional when recounting the shooting scene and her voice cracked when she had to point to the .40-caliber Sig Sauer handgun in evidence, which was used in the shooting at 9125 Stoney Mountain Drive.

The weapon had been identified in court documents and previous testimony as a 9 mm, which was incorrect.

She was the third witness called Wednesday, when testimony began with Kevin Driscoll who also witnessed the shooting in his bedroom.

Driscoll's father, Jerry Driscoll, testified after his son.

The younger Driscoll spent four hours on the witness stand and said he had difficulty remembering much of what happened the night of Compton's death.

At times he remembered unloading two handguns before allowing friends to handle them. At other times he couldn't recall who was present when certain events occurred and contradicted statements that he gave police shortly after the shooting.

Driscoll said that, after the shooting, he threw bullets from both guns into the backyard to "secure" the weapon.

"I didn't want anybody else to get hurt," he testified.

But he also threw beer into the backyard to avoid arrest for underage drinking, he admitted under cross-examination by Stout's attorney, Hank Hill.

During opening statements Wednesday, Hill didn't skirt the results of his client's actions, but tried instead to put them in context for the jury.

"Was it bad behavior? Was it stupid? Was it foolish? Yeah," Hill said. "But don't confuse a misinformed accident with second-degree murder. And there is a vast chasm between the two."

Hill's defense for Stout has been that his client couldn't have known the weapon was loaded when he pushed the muzzle into Compton's chest and pulled the trigger.

Pope and fellow prosecutor David Schmidt spent much of Wednesday establishing the order of events and what witnesses saw in regards to loaded and unloaded weapons.

Testimony showed that two handguns, the .40-caliber and a 9 mm Smith & Wesson handgun, owned by Jerry Driscoll, were brought out for display by Kevin Driscoll while at least five teens were in they younger Driscoll's bedroom.

In previous testimony, Kevin Driscoll has said he heard Stout load the gun, then saw him point it at several people before turning it on Compton and pulling the trigger.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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