Testimony continues in murder trial
Two men, described as long-time friends by witnesses and attorneys Wednesday, ended up on opposite sides of a gun; and Buddy Frisbie, 32, died Aug. 25 from two gunshots and Tyler Webster, 33, is on trial for murder in the Jefferson County courthouse.
Opening statements Wednesday from attorneys drew two pictures.
“Buddy Frisbie and his girlfriend Shelby Hall lived in Missouri and were staying the weekend in a camper on Marigold Boulevard, next to a trailer occupied by Doug Knight,” Jefferson County Attorney Tim Dille said to the jury.
Dille described an incident on Aug. 25 in which Frisbie, Webster and Hall were together in a camper when Frisbie made a remark about the three of them performing a sex act.
“In a friendly, joking-around sort of way, he grabbed Shelby’s arm and she said ‘ouch,’” said Dille. “All of a sudden, Tyler got up and walked out. They thought he’d left, Shelby will tell you.
“Tyler came back with a gun, fired two shots into Buddy Frisbie and Shelby ran out,” Dille said.
“You’ll hear the 911 tape - Doug Knight called the police - and Tyler got on the phone and said, ‘I shot him.’ You’ll hear from the dispatcher, Michael Powers, who took that call in Washington County.
“Powers instructed Webster to wait at the end of the driveway,” said Dille. “Deputy Mark Miller of Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office arrived and found the defendant lying on the ground at the end of the driveway, took him into custody and searched him. The defendant told Miller he put the gun in the glove compartment of his truck. Miller transported the defendant to the law center. At one point, the defendant said to the deputy, ‘Why interview me, I already told you.’
“You will hear from a fire arms expert, fingerprints specialist and about forensic evidence,” said Dille.
Defense attorney Michael Adams agreed Webster shot Frisbie twice in the face and then asked “Why?” in his opening remarks Wednesday.
Adams said Frisbie’s girlfriend Hall was being raped, with her arm twisted behind her back, doubled over and crying in pain.
“Frisbie wrenched her arm further,” said Adams.
“Tyler’s mom and Frisbie’s father had been romantically involved in the past; Tyler and Frisbie were like step-brothers,” said Adams. “They didn’t get along so well at first, but grew to be friends.
“Tyler heard Frisbie talk about tying up his first wife, and how he raped his second wife, Carissa,” said Adams.
“Frisbie told Tyler he liked to force women and choke women during sex to watch their expression,” said Adams. “And one time, he thought he’d killed a woman when she passed out.
“Frisbie told Tyler they could rape Shelby.
“Tyler had been with Frisbie when he saw him get into fights in bars and stomp people on the ground,” said Adams. “Frisbie was involved in a drive-by shooting in Iowa and had to flee the state. He had been involved in a knife fight on the east coast and left someone for dead.
“We talked about options in using force,” said Adams. “Tyler had five choices: one, he could simply walk away, let Shelby be raped; two, he could physically confront Frisbie, who was bigger than Tyler. And did Frisbie have a knife or a gun on him? Three, he could go next door to Doug’s and ask for help. Doug’s behavior with law enforcement on the scene later was very abusive when he got restrained and he was highly intoxicated. Four, he could have just pointed the gun and said stop. You [the jury] will decide if it was reasonable to think Frisbie might take the gun away or still have his own weapon; Five, call law enforcement. They were out in the country. What happens while waiting on law enforcement?”
“Tyler had a permit to carry; he walked into the camper and shot. His intent was not killing his friend but to stop the attack,” said Adams. “He had no good choices. He acted on what he knew about the circumstance. I’m not asking you at this point to agree. Listen critically to all the evidence. Get as much information as you can get. I believe you will find Tyler justified. “
Frisbie’s family members were seated in the front row, directly behind the prosecuting attorneys’ table. Buddy Frisbie’s mother shook her head “no” frequently during Adams’ statements.
Webster’s mother sat in the same row, at the opposite end of the bench, nearly directly behind her son at the defense table.
Webster appeared thinner and clean-shaven in court Wednesday, compared to the August mug shot showing a rounder face and a beard. He dressed in khakis and a plaid, button down shirt. He was free of restraints inside the courtroom, but was handcuffed for transport between jail and the courthouse.
Several uniformed deputies were present during the trial and anyone entering the courtroom walked through a metal detector and bags were searched. Cameras were not allowed in the courtroom by the judge.
The state’s first witness, Frisbie’s girlfriend, Shelby Hall, provided testimony Wednesday that agreed more with the prosecution’s opening statements. Part of Hall’s testimony was published in The Ledger Wednesday.
Hall said Frisbie would not have hurt her and she wasn’t afraid of him. She had not seen him act violently. He had never forced anything; their behaviors were consensual.
After running out of the camper at the second gunshot fired by Webster at Frisbie on Aug. 25, Hall ran to Knight’s trailer. Knight told her to hide in the back of his trailer, she said. Knight had a shotgun.
“Tyler walked over to Doug’s trailer, still with his gun, and Doug was telling him to leave me alone and put down the gun,” said Hall. “Tyler was staring me down. Doug called the cops, and I saw Tyler take the phone and he told 911 what he did. I saw Doug and Tyler walk down the driveway. I went outside the trailer and waited there until the police came. When they talked to me, I was very upset.”
On cross examination, Adams asked Hall if she loved Frisbie. Hall replied she had strong feelings for Frisbie.
“I had just gotten out of a marriage. I was not looking for love,” said Hall. “I didn’t love him.”
Adams asked about a shotgun found in the backseat of Hall’s car.
“I assumed it was Buddy’s, he put it there,” said Hall. “He always carried a gun or had a knife most of the time.”
Adams asked about Webster’s mood change on Aug. 25. Hall said Webster didn’t seem angry, and at the camper that evening, “he looked depressed, bothered, but not mad.”
During testimony, Hall said she and Frisbie were trying to lift Webster’s mood by talking, laughing and joking; including Frisbie’s suggestion for the three of them to have sex. She said Wednesday it was the first time Frisbie had suggested such a thing.
Adams asked Hall to recall her deposition given to him March 28, while under oath, just as she was under oath in court.
Adams showed Hall the printed deposition of her remarks. He said she was asked if Buddy had suggested the three of them have sex before. Hall said in her deposition he had suggested that and that she declined.
“When I said no, Buddy stopped joking about it,” Hall said Wednesday.
“But in the camper, joking around, trying to cheer up Tyler, Frisbie was talking about something Tyler did not want to do,” said Adams. “Frisbie took your wrist and twisted your arm; that’s how you two played. It was sexual arousal role-playing.”
Adams suggested to Hall she and Frisbie knew it was a game but she didn’t know if Tyler knew it was a game or not.
Hall said something happened the evening of Aug. 25, but she didn’t know what, only that Webster’s facial expression changed.
“The look Tyler had when he shot Buddy was the same look when he was staring me down,” said Hall.
Hall also said Webster never pointed the gun at her and had never treated her inappropriately.
Wednesday’s testimony included Michael Powers, the 911 dispatcher who took the call dialed by Doug Knight and with Tyler Webster speaking. The jury was handed a transcript of the 911 call while a recording of the call played in the courtroom. The recording was difficult to understand most of the time, but, “I shot a man in the face,” was audible, and Webster’s mother wiped tears away while another woman with the Frisbie family also wiped tears.
When the audio recording got to a part where a male voice described a white Mazda truck where the fired weapon will be placed, Webster, red-nosed, wiped his cheek.
Miller, a Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy, testified Wednesday he was the first law enforcement person to arrive at 2469 Marigold Boulevard after the approximately 7:30 p.m. call.
“Our dispatcher told me a male subject had shot another male subject in the face,” said Miller. “It took me 10 minutes or less to get there.”
Miller said Webster had done as instructed by the 911 dispatcher and was cooperative with law enforcement. A second deputy arrived, and eventually a third. Webster was secured in Miller’s squad car, and Miller went and checked the two trailers, to see if any more people were there.
“I checked the male subject [Frisbie] in the camper, checked for a pulse, there was no pulse,” said Miller. “I also came to Shelby Hall, who was visibly shaking and crying.”
He advised dispatch the scene was secure for the ambulance to approach, and he returned to his squad car for crime scene tape. Miller was not in the camper when emergency medical staff entered and checked Frisbie.
“The ambulance crew did not remove the body,” said Miller. “I called our investigator and county attorney. I took crime scene photos. I saw the victim in the camper, face-up, slumped over on the couch, lying on his back. I looked in the Mazda and saw the gun in the glove box, the glove box was open.”