By Krystal Spring/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
MISSOULA - Videotaped images of the bloody aftermath of a deadly shootout near Harlem last year were displayed for jurors Tuesday in Missoula.
The 30- to 40-minute video, shot by Havre police Lt. Russ Ostwalt, walked jurors through a field where Blaine County sheriff's deputy Joshua Rutherford was killed by a single gunshot wound to the chest and deputy Loren Janis was shot in the left arm.
Laurence Dean Jackson Jr., 28, of Harlem is charged with one count of deliberate homicide and one count of attempted deliberate homicide in the May 29, 2003, shootings. The deputies were shot while responding to a domestic disturbance call.
Jackson's trial began two weeks ago in Missoula, where the trial was moved after attorneys argued that pretrial publicity would make it difficult to seat impartial jurors in Chinook.
Ostwalt, who testified Tuesday, said he videotaped the crime scene just hours after the shooting. The video he shot was admitted as evidence and shown in its entirety to jurors Tuesday.
Ostwalt narrated the video while he shot it, providing information on the direction he was facing and what part of the scene was being taped.
Part of the video was shot during the dark, early morning hours of May 30, 2003. Other sections were shot during daylight, where orange evidence flags and barrier tape could easily be seen dotting the field off of U.S. Highway 2 where Rutherford was killed.
Rutherford's mother, Maxine Magpie Clifford, and his sister Tammy Rider also watched the video. When Rutherford's body was shown, the two bowed their heads and wept. They left the courtroom moments later.
The tape also showed a stark comparison of the crime scene, before and after officials burned a section of the field to assist them in searching for shell casings.
Havre Police Chief Mike Barthel, who led the investigation after the shooting, finished his testimony Tuesday. In the defense's cross-examination, Barthel was asked why he didn't have Janis return to the field to reconstruct the scene after the shooting.
Barthel said he doesn't usually use victims of a violent crime in a re-enactment. He said he didn't feel it was necessary to reconstruct the scene because the evidence he gathered provided him with the information he needed to move forward with the investigation.
"The evidence at a scene tells a story," he told jurors. "This evidence was speaking to me."
The prosecution began its 10th day of testimony today. The defense is expected to begin its case later this week.