TERRE HAUTE —
Recollections differed among witnesses called to testify Tuesday in the murder trial of William Mallory.
Mallory, 22, faces six criminal charges in Vigo Superior Court 6 related to the shooting death of 24-year-old Dustin Kelly, and the wounding of Donte Pettus and Terrance Trotter, both age 21 at the time.
The shootings occurred Aug. 24, 2012, in a parking lot outside the Ballyhoo Tavern at Ninth and Chestnut streets.
Anthony Jones and David Baker, both friends of Mallory, testified that Kelly, Pettus and Trotter were aggressive both inside the tavern and outside in the parking lot. And the two witnesses testified that the actions of Pettus and Kelly put Mallory in fear, which they indicated is why Mallory pulled out a gun to defend himself and his companions.
But Pettus and Trotter testified that they only had one encounter with Mallory inside the Ballyhoo before the shooting. Pettus testified that he had met Mallory before the night of the shooting. Mallory was dating Pettus’ ex-girlfriend and had been at her home where Pettus’ 4-year-old son lived. Pettus said he did not want any hard feelings with Mallory, who Pettus feared could treat his son badly if there were a grudge.
Jones and Baker testified that they were standing around in the parking lot with Mallory as the tavern emptied out for the night. They said they anticipated trouble when Kelly, Pettus and Trotter approached and challenged Mallory to fight.
Pettus said he had left the tavern and entered the parking lot looking for his friend. Pettus said he saw his cousin Dustin Kelly fall to the ground, and that’s when he saw a gun and started running away from Mallory, but he fell from being shot twice. Pettus said he was hospitalized for three weeks, and he still has two bullets lodged in his spine.
Trotter testified that he had been with Kelly at another local tavern before going to the Ballyhoo that night. He said he did not remember much about getting shot, but the bullet remains in his body.
Testimony Tuesday morning came from the former Vigo County coroner, as well as four Terre Haute Police officers who assisted in the investigation.
Forensic pathologist Dr. Roland Kohr testified that one of the bullets that entered Dustin Kelly’s chest exited Kelly’s back while the already injured man was lying on a hard surface, such as an asphalt parking lot. Kelly likely died within minutes of being shot, Kohr said.
Both of the bullets that struck Kelly exited the man’s back, Kohr said, and a bullet wound in Kelly’s left forearm appeared to be a defensive wound that occurred when Kelly raised his arm in an attempt to avoid being shot.
Mallory is charged with felony murder, which carries a potential prison sentence of 45 to 65 years in prison. He has also been charged with two counts of class-A felony attempted murder for the shootings of Pettus and Trooter. He also faces two counts of class-B felony aggravated battery, and carrying a handgun without a license, a class-A misdemeanor. A class-A felony has a sentencing range of 20 to 50 years in prison, and a class-B felony has a six- to 20-year sentencing range. A class-A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail.
Testimony continues today, and the trial is expected to wrap up Friday.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.