TERRE HAUTE —
Four witnesses testified Monday in the opening day of trial for William Mallory, accused of the August 2012 shooting of three men outside the Ballyhoo Tavern in Terre Haute.
Defense attorney Vernon Lorenz told the seven-woman, five-man jury in Vigo Superior Court 6 that Mallory, 22, of Terre Haute, should be acquitted on the charges of felony murder, attempted murder and aggravated battery because he acted in self-defense.
But Lorenz noted that Mallory did not have a license to carry a handgun — a .22-caliber Smith & Wesson — as alleged in the misdemeanor charge of carrying a handgun without a license.
Deputy Prosecutor Chris Wrede alleged to the jury that Mallory waited with his handgun in the parking lot outside the tavern, and, without warning, shot three men with whom he had exchanged words inside the tavern.
Dustin Kelly, 24, died after being shot twice. Injured were Dante Pettus and Terrance Trotter, both 21 at the time. Pettus was shot twice in the torso, and Trotter was shot in the hip.
In preparation for the trial, county officials have ramped up security measures, including additional personnel, close screening and metal detectors.
Kathy Calloway, Kelly’s mother, tearfully told how her son loved to play football, and how he played running back on a semi-professional team in hopes of one day playing in the National Football League. He was attending college, she said, and he was well-liked.
“Dustin had friends everywhere,” Calloway said. “Dustin didn’t meet a stranger.”
She said her son had left her house on the evening of Aug. 23 to hang out with his cousin, Pettus. She said she did not know they were going to the Ballyhoo, and she was surprised when her sister called her early on Aug. 24 to say that Pettus had been shot. Calloway said she did not know then that her son also had been shot, but later, at a local hospital, she learned Kelly had died.
Detective Steve Lockard of the Terre Haute Police Department testified that he had been working off-duty security at the tavern, and it was brought to his attention by a bar patron that a group of people, including Mallory, needed to be watched. Lockard said he talked to the people involved, but they assured him that they were all friends, and he saw no bad behavior exhibited.
As the tavern was closing down for the night, Lockard said a person ran in to inform police of the shooting in the parking lot south of the tavern. He said he responded to the scene and found three people on the ground in the parking lot. Some of those people were among the group that had been pointed out to him inside the bar. He said he did not find Mallory or his friends in the parking lot.
Wrede presented the testimony of two other patrons of the tavern — Krista Beliles and Jacob York — through videotaped interviews. They were unable to be at the trial due to university assignments. But they told of being at the Ballyhoo on the night of the shooting and how they saw the crowd and injured people in the parking lot after the shooting.
In his opening statement to the jury, Wrede stated that Mallory left the Ballyhoo a few minutes before closing time, but went to his car in a parking lot northeast of the tavern and retrieved a handgun that he loaded and put into his pants pocket. Wrede said that Mallory then moved his car to a parking lot south of the Ballyhoo near his cousin’s car and waited for Kelly, Pettus and Trotter to exit the bar. Wrede said that Mallory’s argument had been with Pettus concerning a woman who had a prior relationship with both men.
Defense attorney Lorenz called the events of that night tragic, but he said the shooting was “completely avoidable” and “a problem of their own making” because Mallory was only trying to protect himself, his cousin and their friend. After the shooting, Mallory left Terre Haute and went to his mother’s home in Indianapolis. He later turned himself in to police, along with the handgun police believe was used in the shooting.
Wrede said that he plans to call 22 to 26 witnesses to testify during the trial, which is expected to conclude Friday.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254.