News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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February 12, 2013

Defense attorney: No proof client intended to kill when he fired gun

ROCKVILLE — A 12-person jury heard opening statements and some testimony Monday in the trial of a Terre Haute man accused of attempted murder for a July 2012 gunfire incident in Rosedale.

Zachary Buza, 19, faces seven felony counts — including attempted voluntary manslaughter, aggravated battery, criminal recklessness and strangulation — in connection with a standoff  with police on a Sunday afternoon last summer at his girlfriend’s residence.

Defense attorney James Bruner told the jury in Parke Circuit Court that the prosecution team will not be able to prove that Buza intended to kill anyone when he fired three shots from a bathroom window at his girlfriend’s home.

The incident resulted in injuries to Indiana State Police Trooper Michael Organ and Rosedale Town Marshal Kevin Bratcher, who were both injured after bullets believed to have been fired by Buza struck Organ’s ISP patrol car.

Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Stalker called two witnesses, Timothy Vilbrandt and Karla Johaningmeyer, who testified that they had seen Buza earlier on the day of the shooting, and they believed that Buza had become intoxicated while supposedly doing handyman work at their residence.

Vilbrandt testified that he was ready to eject Buza from his rural property for belligerence and irresponsible behavior when Johaningmeyer stepped in and offered to drive Buza to Rosedale to get him off the property.

Johaningmeyer testified that Buza had trouble walking and admitted to drinking alcohol that he found in a garage refrigerator. She said that she dropped him off at the Rosedale residence where the standoff occurred a few hours later.

Parke County Dispatcher Cindy Rohr testified that at 4:10 p.m. that day, she answered a call from Rosedale reporting that Buza had battered people at a home on South Main Street. A second 911 call about shots being fired followed.

The trial recessed Monday afternoon following the dispatcher’s brief testimony, but Judge Sam Swain notified the jury that the trial is expected to continue through Friday.

Parke County Prosecutor Steve Cvengros submitted a witness list of more than 30 people who might be called to testify, while defense attorney Bruner submitted a witness list including more than 20 people.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

 

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