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“Road Rage” Murder Trial: Walker Appeared to Goad Harvey: “Come on.”

“Road Rage” Murder Trial: Walker Appeared to Goad Harvey: “Come on.”

“[Walker] was standing like he was kind of daring [Harvey] to come, like, come on.” “[Walker] made head nod, like come on.”

Our next piece of evidence from the Joseph Walker trial is the transcribed interview of a pair of witnesses, a married couple traveling together, who drove by the shooting scene. Their names have been redacted from this transcript, so because this transcript was attached as Exhibit G to the defense’s recent motion to dismiss the charges against Walker, I will refer to them as Mr. and Ms. G.

The interview is conducted by the Maryland State Police’s Lead Investigator on this case, Trooper First Class (TFC) Myles Roy, on June 13, 2013, five days after the incident on June 8.

Ms. G was driving their vehicle, which contained just herself and her husband. They were driving on Route 3 northbound to I-97, the same stretch of road on which Walker would shoot Harvey. TFC Myles asked them to describe what they saw as they approached the scene.

Walker Already Standing by Minivan When Harvey and Pidel Exit Honda

Ms. G: We saw two vehicles pulled to the side. We saw a gentleman in a minivan get out, cross his arms, and do like a head nod kid of thing. And then we saw two gentlemen in the car in front get out and start approaching the man at the minivan.

TFC Roy: Then you said there were two people in that Honda.

Ms. G: I actually saw them outside the car. I saw one approaching from the passenger’s side, and I saw one approaching from the driver’s side. And they are both walking towards the minivan, the gentleman and the minivan.

And near the end of the transcript:

Mr. G: The little car [Harvey’s Honda], they were like – he was shutting the door and started making his way towards the minivan.

That, then, was the start of their observation of the conflict. They passed when Harvey and Pidel were not yet halfway to the minivan, and Mr. G observed a few moments longer through his rearview mirror.

TFC Roy: Where were they in reference to the actual vehicle? Like how far away from the vehicle did you see them get?

Ms. G: I saw them get – they were not halfway distance between their car and the minivan when I passed them.

Walker “Very Large,” Harvey “Stocky,” Pidel Smaller

TFC Roy: Okay. Can you describe that man that was next to the van?

Ms. G: Very large African American man, looked like he was bald. Very large, 6’ 5”, 6’ 6”, somewhere around there probably.

Ms. G: The gentleman, the driver, looked to be heavyset to me. And I believe he was wearing shorts. And so – I remember him. And I remember the passenger gentleman to look smaller in statute than the gentleman that was driving.

No Weapons Were Observed

TFC Roy: Did you happen to see if they had anything in their hands, any kind of weapons or anything like that?

Ms. G: I saw their hands, kind of that stocky, blown-up chest walk from the driver, but I didn’t see anything in his hands.

TFC Roy: Okay. How about the driver of the van?

Ms. G: I did not see anything in his hands. I

TFC Roy: Sir, did you see anything in either of their hands?

Mr. G: No. I didn’t see anybody having any weapons.

Mr. G: Walker Appeared to Goad Harvey, and Harvey Eager to Confront

They did, however, described Walker as presenting a demeanor they perceived as goading Harvey and Pidel to approach. This is vastly different than Walker’s recounting at the scene that he was inspecting his tires and did not observe Harvey and Pidel until they were within 10 feet of him at his minivan.

Mr. G: Like she said, he was standing like, kind of like to me, in my point of view, he was like kind of daring him to come, you know, like you say, you know, come on, you know.

TFC Roy: And who are you talking about?

Mr. G: I’m talking about the guy in the minivan. He was standing there asking them to come on. They were both like the same distance apart, maybe not even 10, 15 feet away from the trunk of their car heading towards him. The driver [Harvey], a stocky, big guy, it looked like his hands were clenched and like in a pissed-off manner, was heading towards him, like he wanted to confront them.

Mr. G: And, you know, after we passed him up, I looked in my rearview mirror. And it looked like the black guy leaned over, opened his door, and reached in for something. And I don’t know what it was or anything. He didn’t pull out anything by the time we passed.

Ms. G: Walker Made “Head Nod, Like Come On”

TFC Roy: Did you hear anything?

Mr. G: Not at all.

Ms. G: And I didn’t see any lips moving, like somebody – like they were exchanging anything.

TFC Roy: No hand gestures?

Ms. G: I just saw the head nod, like come on.

TFC Roy: And that was from the guy with the van?

Ms. G: Yes, sir. And, of course, I’m inferring what he was thinking. You know, he may have been – maybe that’s a nervous tic that he has. I’m just inferring that’s what it looked like to me. That he was like come on.

Witnesses Describe Walker as “Aggressive” and Harvey as “Ready to Rumble”

Mr. G: I didn’t think it would have been somebody dying, or, you know, or him pulling out a gun.

TFC Roy: But did you think it may escalate to a fight or something like that?

Mr. G: Yeah, because he came – he came with an aggressive attitude. And, you know, the guy who was walking towards the minivan, he was like ready to rumble. And – and obviously, the other guy was nudging him on, you know. He was like come on. So I – I thought they were just – if it was a fist fight, that happens all the time, you know.

Harvey Closed on Walker at a Fast Walk, Not a Run

TFC Roy: Did you get a sense of haw fast they were traveling towards the van?

Ms. G: I didn’t feel like they were traveling that fast. They surely weren’t running.

Mr. G: I though it was like he wanted to get there, you know, kind of. He looked like he was, you know, ready to go over there and see what’s going on.

TFC Roy: But he wasn’t like running or sprinting.

Mr. G: No.

TFC Roy: Would you describe like a faster paced walk or –

Mr. G: Yeah.

TFC Roy: And then was that both of them?

Mr. G: In the beginning? Yeah.

TFC Roy: Looking in the rearview mirror, did you ever seem them break apart or one person slow down or –

Mr. G: No.

Walker Not Seen to Display Any Indicia of LEO Status

TFC Roy: You saw the gentleman standing next to the van – obviously it’s now known that he was a police officer – did you see any kind of identification—

MS. G: No, sir.

Mr. G: No.

TFC Roy: — that would have led for you to believe that he was a police officer, whether he was holding a badge or wearing a badge? Or did you see a gun holster –

Ms. G: No, sir.

TFC Roy: — any kind of police gear or –

Mrs. G: No, sir.

Mr. G: Not at all.

And that’s it for the substantive part of the transcript. Here’s the whole thing, for your viewing pleasure:

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.

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Comments

While I’m sure both Pidel and Walker have probably altered their stories to some degree to make themselves look good, this statement sounds a heck of a lot closer to Pidel’s story than Walker’s.

This doesn’t bode well for Walker.

OK, Andrew. You know I love you, brother.

But…just DAMN, as we say.

MRS. G. It’s bad enough the troopers are PC troops. You don’t have to play along.

Why would they interview these witnesses together? Doesn’t that taint the testimony by having them influence each other?

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Merlin01. | March 14, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Generally interviewing people together does taint them. But it sounds like these people heard it on the news or the internet then called the police, and it sounds like some of what they said has been colored by the news.

    This is the first description of Walker, where he is described as a big man. Generally the previous descriptions are the opposite. He is a small man.

    How did they know that the car was a Honda? Imagine passing a parked car on a highway. Could you tell if it was a Honda instead of a Toyota or a Nissan? Maybe if you’re a car salesman.
    Or if you heard it on the news.

    Still they really didn’t say much. But that’s another post.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 16, 2014 at 3:30 am

      “How did they know that the car was a Honda?”

      I know some guys that can tell what a car is just from the body, so maybe it is something like that. Most likely though they saw a news report and realized that was the situation that they saw and called the cops. Knowing the make of the car is probably just subconscious recall from the news that they have heard.

        “I know some guys that can tell what a car is just from the bod.”

        Heck, not even that much.

        I awoke one morning in college to find that someone had driven into my street-parked car overnight, and then run. All they left behind was a bit of green paint on my car and a single piece of body trim on the ground.

        Many years of working as a mechanic informed me that that particular piece of body trim almost certainly came from an early 1970s Ford Gran Torino. Cops showed up took a report, took the piece of body trim.

        Later that same day I’m at the local supermarket and what do I see but a green early 70s Ford Gran Torino, missing that piece of body trim and with white paint (my car was white) smeared along that part of the car.

        Called back the cop, he matched the piece of trim with the car, called in the plate, turned out owner lived across the street, and was still sleeping off the previous night’s drunk. A few minutes of “interrogation,” and a full confession was in hand.

        Perhaps the biggest shock of all, he had valid insurance. 🙂

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    tom swift in reply to Merlin01. | March 14, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    By the time they made this statement they’d had five days to chat about it.

    Agree interviewing them together destroys their usefulness at trail and was an unprofessional move.
    Deadly testimony to the defense if they aren’t countered in some way. They do seem to back up Pidel somewhat,
    Agree the “big guy” description of Walker seems to blow them out of the water.

      tom swift in reply to 49erDweet. | March 14, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Agree the “big guy” description of Walker seems to blow them out of the water.

      That probably won’t be terribly important. If these two were interviewing for a carnival job at the “Guess Your Height and Weight” booth, it might be terminal. But for the purposes of this trial it will just mean that the jurors shouldn’t rely on their coaching for answers to any math problems.

      tom swift in reply to 49erDweet. | March 15, 2014 at 4:11 am

      We also don’t know who Mr. and Mrs G are comparing Walker to. Perhaps both are themselves relatively short.

      Ragspierre in reply to 49erDweet. | March 15, 2014 at 8:50 am

      Nonsense. Even a very skilled observer could get my hair color wrong (flesh-colored in my case) while still getting very clearly what my actions were.

      Juries don’t discount someone’s entire account because they get something wrong, especially if it is totally extraneous, like Walker’s height.

        Phillep Harding in reply to Ragspierre. | March 15, 2014 at 1:58 pm

        LOL. I’m going to have to tell that “hair color” line to a friend of mine.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Ragspierre. | March 16, 2014 at 3:33 am

        LOL, yea I told someone once that my my hair color was “thinning”. I also describe myself as no longer having it receding hairline, it is now in full retreat.

    janitor in reply to Merlin01. | March 14, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Merlin01: yes. And, moreover, people driving past tend to be very fallible witnesses. Research has shown that these kinds of witnesses of auto accidents have difficulty remembering even such things as whether the light was green or red when the car entered the intersection.

Humphrey's Executor | March 14, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Zimmerman came under attack from his critics for getting out of his car and “following” TM. The implication was that Zimmerman caused the deadly confrontation and was at least morally at fault. Will those same critics hold this defendant to a similar standard? Where’s Al Sharpton on this one?

“He was standing there asking them to come on.”

Wait a damn minute ! How exactly did she know this ? She said they were driving by, and she DID NOT HEAR ANYTHING !!!

She makes a comment like that based on she didn’t like how the guy was standing ?

“TFC Roy: Did you hear anything?

Mr. G: Not at all.

Ms. G: And I didn’t see any lips moving, like somebody – like they were exchanging anything.

TFC Roy: No hand gestures?

Ms. G: I just saw the head nod, like come on.”

There she goes again !

“Ms. G: Yes, sir. And, of course, I’m inferring what he was thinking. You know, he may have been – maybe that’s a nervous tic that he has. I’m just inferring that’s what it looked like to me. That he was like come on.”

Andrew – Can this even come in as testimony ? It’s nothing but purest SWAG speculation !

    Ragspierre in reply to pjm. | March 14, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    OH, yeah!

    This is golden testimony. OC can try to shake her, by they have to be VERY careful, because it gives the prosecution the chance to get a demonstration of the body language before the jury AGAIN on redirect.

    tom swift in reply to pjm. | March 14, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Actually, the statement is very interesting. Mrs. G, in particular, makes very clear that she is distinguishing between what she actually sees of Walker’s body language and what she interprets it to mean. She even acknowledges that it may not be body language at all, in which case the interpretation would have to be different.

    If properly handled, these two could be very strong prosecution witnesses.

    DavidJackSmith in reply to pjm. | March 14, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    I agree.

    This is laughably absurd testimony which I would completely disregard if I was a juror.

    She’s interpreting “body language” from a moving vehicle.

    Give me a break.

    Though it might get her on O’Reilly as his new “body language” expert.

      I read body language all the time while driving. From the pedestrian standing beside the road (is he intending to cross) to other drivers in their vehicles (is he going to yield at a four way stop, etc.)

      The inference may not always be accurate, but we all make them, and we all make them with a fair degree of success. That they offered such observations is no slight against them or their judgement.

      The main problem here is not that their inference may be less than perfectly accurate, it is that the witnesses reported observing little if anything consistent with the statement from Walker.

      Walker sustained no damage during the entire incident, his ability to explain his need to employ lethal force is substantially dependent upon his credibility. If his credibility is in doubt his justification for shooting Harvey is likewise in doubt.

        DavidJackSmith in reply to ThomasD. | March 15, 2014 at 10:16 am

        “The inference may not always be accurate, but we all make them”

        So? How is THAT evidence. It’s not. If it’s not accurate then it’s complete speculation.

        Eye-witness evidence is notoriously unreliable when people are actually talking about something they thought they saw.

        And she’s talking about something she “felt”?

        For crying out loud.

        I hope you’re never on trial and a “witness”” is testifying on what they felt was your intent, as opposed to what you actually did that they saw, and could quantify.

          Ragspierre in reply to DavidJackSmith. | March 15, 2014 at 12:00 pm

          “So? How is THAT evidence. It’s not.”

          Sure it is. It is very good evidence.

          People’s perceptions are not “speculation”.

          If you saw a strapping teenage boy come up to an old man and cold-cock him, you could say what you saw without the least speculation. You could say, “He seemed to hit the old man for no reason at all”, as well.

          IF someone asked you WHY the teenager was a violent thug, THAT would be a question asking for speculation.

          Not sure why everyone is so disparaging of eye-witness testimony. Sure, eyewitnesses get the details wrong all the time–say, exactly how many shots were fired, or exactly how far apart two cars were.

          But few of us have any difficulty in identifying a person whose demeanor is obviously aggressive as opposed to one whose demeanor is obviously passive.

          And any of us who have ever seen an action movie have seen one of the antagonists give the “bring it” head nod.

          That type of broad, basic human nature type of testimony, unless the witnesses’ credibility is worthless for other reasons, is often among the most compelling testimony a jury will hear.

          It’s why I train all my students to make sure their conduct will appear to witnesses as that of a defender seeking to disengage, rather than an aggressor seeking to engage. Because testimony that supports the latter case is devastating to a self-defense claim.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Gremlin1974 in reply to DavidJackSmith. | March 16, 2014 at 3:45 am

          Exactly, I worked on a psych unit for criminally insane drug abusers who had been acquitted due to mental illness or defect. So training and understanding body language was essential, because if we couldn’t “read” then either I or someone else could be hurt and badly.

          Potential for danger is one of the first thing humans assess when they see another human, because that perception is one of the triggers for our “flight or fight” response. We actually make this determination in milliseconds, much faster than our body can respond. We do the same thing with our environment, I am sure everyone has walked up on a scene and just had that; “Something isn’t right here” feeling. You are doing the same thing, except you are reading environmental factors instead of body language. But that “read” is hardwired into what I call the “caveman” part of our brain. On the psych unit we had to learn how to read it consciously instead of it being an involuntary thing.

          I was lucky enough to actually get to hear Dr. Paul Ekman speak on this and have training by some of the folks he trained.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to DavidJackSmith. | March 15, 2014 at 12:37 am

      Everybody who has the gift of sight interprets body language. It’s part of our primal survival mechanisms. You do it, I do it, and anybody who isn’t blind does it. We “wear” our words and thoughts and others interpret them. It’s in our facial expressions, our postures and our movements and gestures.

      Harvey was walking fast toward Walker. But Walker was standing there like “C’mon, bring it.” That is not the posture of a man in fear.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to pjm. | March 15, 2014 at 12:30 am

    The witness was describing an interpretation of body language. We all do it. These witnesses went on to say they heard no words nor saw anybody moving their mouths in talking during the time they saw the incident.

    This is damaging to Walker to some extent because it means that Harvey did not get out of the car yelling epithets or threats, at least during the time these witnesses were passing.

      Nor was he wildly gesticulating, flinging his arms in the air like the “depraved” “purple-faced goon” killing machine of Buldung’s fevered imagination.

      Again, I have no doubt that Harvey was not walking up to help Walker with his “flat tire”. He was puffing along for a punch-up. How intent was he on any contact, really? Could a few civil words quell the whole deal?

      I do have doubts about Pidel’s intent. Was he to be more a participant or an intervenor? Did he know? Was he going to be they guy who said, “That’s enough, Joe, this is getting weird, and people are stopping”? I mean, he sure had reasons not to be involved in an assault, and so did Harvey.

      Some make the fanciful assumption that Harvey would be hell-bent on continuing this whole dance if Walker had simply pulled back on the highway and driven off. Why? What makes any of us assume that Pidel would not have whispered in Harvey’s shell-like ear, “…um…dude…CDL… You can’t afford to lose your meal-ticket.”?

      A lot of people have adopted the Walker account of the driving. I’ve seen nothing that supports doing that except blind faith.

      The Pidel account and Walker account are at wild variance.

      Something else has been on my mind; Joe Harvey was a CDL driver, and a local deliveryman. He knew the roads, presumably. Truckers also SHOULD develop strong “look-ahead” skills, which would mean he’d TEND to pick his lanes in anticipation of a turn before other drivers would even think about it, and read signage as he approached any intersection. (Yes, results WILL vary…)

      Walker was a stranger to the area, as I understand it (which could be wrong), and he was hunting for the interstate. It was toward the shank of what might have been a very full day with Momma and the kids, and he could be a very distracted, frustrated driver.

      Again, don’t know, do we?

      As to the “drunken” Harvey and Pidel… Harvey certainly drove well…by any account…for a guy who was much impaired. Not a scratch (reported) on either vehicle. And how is a New Jersey cop threatened by a tailgater, anyhow? That’s par for New Jersey, innit?

      Just some questions.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Ragspierre. | March 15, 2014 at 6:55 pm

        Pidel’s statement related more to his observations rather than any role as a participant. There should be several follow-up interviews with him that we aren’t yet privy to. But based on what we have from Pidel so far, and that we have two witnesses placing Walker outside the Kia with his arms crossed in the “Bring it” mode, I believe Pidel’s observation that Harvey and Walker were mutually combative verbally and both wanted to fight during the verbal war while still driving.

        That’s where I see premeditation supporting the M1 charge (and there may well be more that we’re uninformed about). Walker was willing to pull over to fight, according to Pidel. But he just stood there by the Kia. When Harvey got into good range, Walker shot him dead, firing three times. Pidel indicates surprise in his statement when he says something to dispatch about “They were going to fight, but a gun?” as though the whole thing had not escalated to a level with ideas of deadly force, so I don’t think Harvey made any death threats to Walker in the yelling back and forth. I think Walker was so angry about Harvey’s use of the enword that he suckered Harvey into approaching him and then executed him.

        Then we have Walker’s conflicting stories, which really, really make him look guilty as hell. His first words to dispatch were “A police officer has been attacked” and dispatch had to question him to figure out that he’s the one who did the shooting and was off-duty and out-of-state. From the git-go he didn’t want to “own” the shooting of Harvey. If it was a righteous self-defense shoot, why not just spit it out? Then he tells the officer at the scene an altogether different story.

        I don’t know how Pidel reconciles telling dispatch Walker waved a gun in the car and not telling Harvey about it, unless he thought no way would this encounter ever come to that, what with Walker’s kids right there. Maybe the brandishing occurred before the yelling to pull over to fight, so Pidel thought the gun wouldn’t be in play, especially with Walker’s kids in the car. That could explain the surprise about the gun he expressed to dispatch. We shall see eventually.

        Pidel’s statement seems a lot more consistent with what the passing witnesses say, so, although Andrew discounts Pidel’s statement, I still see it as valuable. Golden? No. Valuable? Yes.

        As to why people insist that Harvey was a blood-thirsty beast intent on killing Walker, I think it’s Pidel’s statement that Harvey always finishes his fights and the fact that he’s big and has a mild version of that redneck biker look going on. They WANT to think it. It’s that simple. What I see of Harvey so far is that he’s a Joe Lunch-bucket type going to work every day who gets into a bar brawl from time to time, not unlike guys in the service. Nothing wrong with a good brawl once in a great while as long as you pay for the damages. Its’ the American way. 🙂 You make a good point about Harvey’s care in driving, relating it to his work.

        I haven’t driven in every state, but I rank NJ third in the lousy, rude driver list. WA, IL, NJ, MA and FL top my list, in that order. TN, NV, TX, NM and NC top my list in the polite, skillful driver list.

Emperor Penguin | March 14, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Well Walkers excuse that he was taken surprise by these two guys while checking his tires is now total BS. His story with the ankle holster is also a lie. And now it seems he was goading them on? He does not seem like the innocent and forced victim he claims he is…

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Emperor Penguin. | March 15, 2014 at 12:46 am

    Walker’s story is busted on so many levels it would take too much time to list them all. In considering Walker’s story and the statements of others, one has to keep asking himself if Walker’s actions are those of a frightened man or not.

    It’s clear that Walker was not frightened. He was angry. I think he felt he had the upper hand because he’s a cop and he was armed – figured that makes him golden. Goading Harvey on indicates premeditation.

      But this adopts, whole enchilada, the head-nodding thing with the arms folded across Walker’s chest.

      I’ve said I could certainly make the argument, as prosecutor, that is what happened, and that that behavior was goading Harvey on, inviting him to come to Walker’s gun.

      That is not the same as feeling like I, personally, know that of a certainty right now.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Ragspierre. | March 15, 2014 at 7:23 pm

        You see it through a lawyer’s eyes, I see it through a criminal investigator’s eyes. It’s a similar skill set, but the nuances are different.

        Haha, indeed it is different. Main thing that differentiates Mas and me. We both cover the same law–literally, exactly the same law–but the difference in our perspectives is sufficient to make both of our seminars well worth attending. 🙂

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | March 16, 2014 at 3:58 am

          Oh, by the way I do have at lease one place that wants info on your seminar here in Arkansas. I am waiting on a couple of others to get back to me and I will send them along in an e-mail.

          Well, encourage them to move along. I’ve got much of the year already booked.

          FYI, I will be in Memphis doing an LOSD Seminar on Saturday, July 12–if the Arkansas folks would like to do something the afternoon of Sunday, July 13, that would be easiest for me from a travel perspective.

          Or we’d have to find a totally clear weekend, and these are disappearing fast.

          If they seem seriously interested, let me know, I’ll send them out a copy of the book.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | March 17, 2014 at 12:18 am

          You and Mas should get together and do a “Lecture Tour”, hehe!

    tom swift in reply to Emperor Penguin. | March 15, 2014 at 4:16 am

    In fairness, no witness is terribly reliable. All we can say at this stage is that on several important points, Walker’s account diverges from that of Mr & Mrs G. We can’t tell from that fact alone which of them is more accurate.

Mr G – “And – and obviously, the other guy was nudging him on, you know. He was like come on.”

He knows this HOW ? He just stated the he did not hear a single word !

He does not claim to have seen any gestures, either. He makes a speculation like that based ‘how the guy was standing’ ? How the hell you you ‘stand in an agressive manner’ ? Unless may you have your fists up in a fighting stance or such ? Which these G’s make no claim to have seen ?

    Ragspierre in reply to pjm. | March 14, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    How did the English know the Scots were egging them on from several hundred yards away when they lifted their kilts and waggled what God gave them?

      That would not be’ just standing there’ now, would it ?

      Given Ms G’s apparent visual acumen, I suspect she would have mentioned anything larger than a cocktail weenie that seemed out of place.

      From several hundred yards away, IOW a few football fields end to end, I’d kind of doubt they saw very much of anything ‘under the kilt’.

      The Scots were, after all, men not horses.

    bildung in reply to pjm. | March 14, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    And how is he supposed to be standing, with a purple faced goon bearing down on him, with a wingman no less?

    Like he’s waiting for an invitation to dance?

    What this witness subjectively thinks is aggressive could be just as subjectively considered defensive by someone else.

    Reasonable doubt.

    Dig down on these two and I bet we come up with Democrat bed wetting gun haters.

      Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      You have to be a parody.

      tom swift in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      And how is he supposed to be standing

      According to his police statement, he’s supposed to be in some attitude appropriate for checking the condition of his tires.

        bildung in reply to tom swift. | March 14, 2014 at 8:37 pm

        And he may well have been.

        But even if these statements are true, which seems doubtful because they are somewhat contradictory, Walker’s ‘stance’ could just as easily have been defensive as provocative.

          tom swift in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 8:57 pm

          The witness’s account of what Walker was doing, and their conjecture about what he was signaling non-verbally, are separable. By that I mean that they can be dead wrong about the conjectures, but be accurate and credible about where Walker was, which way he was facing, etc. That’s what will be damaging to Walker, as it contradicts his police statement about being unaware of Harvey’s approach.

          I personally don’t see much value in their interpretation of Walker’s head nod (and even they express reservations about its possible significance).

          Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 16, 2014 at 4:06 am

          @ Tom Swift

          “I personally don’t see much value in their interpretation of Walker’s head nod (and even they express reservations about its possible significance).”

          Here is one thing that you might not have considered. Even though any 2 people could interpret someones stance and demeanor differently, if a majority of the witnesses have the same impression then that could be significant.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 7:27 pm

        ….or he was standing there because he’d been “pulled over” by the deceased. It depends on which one of his statements is being read.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 16, 2014 at 4:03 am

      What would I expect from the trained and experienced LEO, other than just standing there with his arms crossed.

      I would expect him to be holding his shield at eye level out from his body, yelling something to the effect; “Hey, I am a cop. Stay back.” or how about; “Hey, what did I do to get you so upset?” or ya know any kind of verbal deescalation. Its just a thought and may seem far fetched to some that someone who really didn’t want a confrontation would try to deescalate things, but hey, stranger stuff has happened.

    gxm17 in reply to pjm. | March 14, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    I don’t know where Mr. and Mrs. G come from but where I come from a “head nod” means “hello.” Indicating “come on” usually requires a hand gesture.

    Sorry but I find their statement laughable. It will be interesting to see how they do on the stand.

      tom swift in reply to gxm17. | March 14, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      It’s a statement from people who are not themselves biased participants in the incident, and it directly contradicts substantial parts of Walker’s police statement.

      Nothing laughable about that.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 1:15 am

        But they are biased. They contacted police because of the news stories and internet stories they saw. Those stories certainly biased them. Even to the point where they new the manufacturer of Harvey’s car was Honda.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 15, 2014 at 2:59 am

          Do you know for sure the police did not ask local media to ask viewers to contact them if they had any information about the incident?

          Do you know if either of them or one or more of their friends or family members don’t drive an accord and thus they would be familiar with what the car looks like?

          What you’re saying is that nobody who witnesses anything and then sees something about it in the news can ever be unbiased. That’s not unlike saying any potential juror who has read articles about a case or has seen it on the news can’t be impartial. Yet such people are selected and very often return fair and accurate verdicts.

          An objective reading of these witnesses’ statement reveals no bias against nor malice toward Walker. They explained what they saw and threw in some of their interpretations, but also were careful to point out that those were just their interpretations. Just because their statement isn’t helpful to Walker doesn’t make it biased, no matter how much you wish it was so. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and deal with it rationally.

          tom swift in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 15, 2014 at 4:21 am

          But they are biased. They contacted police because of the news stories and internet stories they saw. Those stories certainly biased them. Even to the point where they new the manufacturer of Harvey’s car was Honda.

          Not a single one of these sentences is obviously true.

          Knowledge is not bias. And who really needs the newspapers to tell them the make of a car they saw themselves?

          Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 16, 2014 at 4:11 am

          I think he may be “bias” more towards not Bias towards walker or Harvey. Yes, they probably got info from the tele, but that doesn’t make their testimony worthless.

      ThomasD in reply to gxm17. | March 14, 2014 at 11:46 pm

      Depends.

      In my region a down nod is generally considered cordial, if not overtly friendly.

      An up nod can mean anything from ‘yes, I’d like another’ to ‘screw you and your kinfolk.’

      amatuerwrangler in reply to gxm17. | March 15, 2014 at 12:42 am

      Like the earlier disinterested passing motorist and passenger, they see quite a lot for such a small time opportunity do do so. Especially MRS. G (I have never been accused of being PC) who was driving the vehicle, aka otherwise occupied to some extent.

      The dual interview is a no-no, especially with a married couple, as one will not want to openly contradict the other in a circumstance like this. Separate interviews will at least verify they practiced enough to both get it right, otherwise there will be some deviation, especially in the interpretation of visual clues.

      The head nod could have been nothing more than his acknowledging to himself, “So this is where this goes….” with the subliminal nod saying “Yep, it is”. If the head nod really happened.

        tom swift in reply to amatuerwrangler. | March 15, 2014 at 4:30 am

        driving the vehicle, aka otherwise occupied to some extent.

        In the thread following the previous post on this topic, we saw a good photo of the ramp where it all happened, thanks to Google’s worldwide spying program. Nice flat, wide road, two lanes with full breakdown lane on right, narrow paved shoulder on left, no potholes, no trees or barriers on the sides, no residences implying the likelihood of dogs or children darting out into the street, no obstacles but an occasional lamppost. Certainly not a difficult bit of navigation. It hardly taxes the imagination to think that Mrs G could devote a major portion of her attention to the drama playing out in the breakdown lane while simultaneously avoiding being a public menace.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to gxm17. | March 16, 2014 at 4:09 am

      Also, its not just the “head nod” that gives the impression, it is all the other body language displayed with the head nod. Remember we take it all in at once and our brain processes it even if we are placing our focus on it.

Is Walker ‘very large’?

According to this witness, he’d be as large as Harvey, yes?

Isn’t Walker considerably smaller than Harvey?

In general, I agree with pjm, this account sounds specious; it is heavily subjective–though it does confirm the central fact that Harvey was advancing on Walker.

    Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    All “perception testimony” is subjective.

    It is still WONDERFULLY useful because everyone on the jury understands it.

      bildung in reply to Ragspierre. | March 14, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Defense counsel will make these witnesses confirm that Harvey was advancing on Walker. The jury will understand that.

      As to the quality of the perception, the defense shouldn’t have any more trouble than pjm just did in raising veracity questions.

      Is Walker as large as these people say?

        Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 7:38 pm

        “veracity questions”

        Dude! Get a dictionary!

        You could question their perceptions (at your peril. HEH!)

        Buy you can’t question their truthfulness (except at your GRAVE peril).

          bildung in reply to Ragspierre. | March 14, 2014 at 9:03 pm

          Yet you are quite ready to declare Walker a liar over issues that are also perceptual in nature, that involve Walker’s best efforts of recollection under PTSD type circumstances.

          Anything that doesn’t exactly comport with your prejudiced notion of how it should be equals “Walker is a liar”.

          Despite the fact that in these situations there are always several differing recountings, it seems.

          Pidel is obviously lying on the gun issue, but you wont touch that with a ten foot pole. Defense counsel will, though.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | March 14, 2014 at 9:24 pm

          Dunno that I’ve declared anybody anything here.

          I have, do, and will point out that there are some really bad, terrible, awful holes in our LEO’s statement.

          Thing is, hunny, I understand juries. They don’t demand infallibility from a witness. They listen, and they accord credence consistent with their own standards…which are very human and perfectly fallible themselves.

          No witness to an event in my experience is consistent to the nth degree. All of them can be attacked. The wise interrogator does not attack too hard.

          Also, you have this beeeeeeezare idea of the rules of evidence. This is not a “Perry Mason” episode. The scope of cross is not infinite. Any skillful sponsor of a witness KNOWS not to open the door too wide.

          You impute all kinds of daffy stuff to people on no evidence whatsoever, as you have here.

          Like I say, you have to be a parody of something or other.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Ragspierre. | March 15, 2014 at 3:14 am

          Oh, good grief. Now you’ve got Walker, a police officer, suffering PTSD. Did Andrew recruit you to bring some levity to the discussion?

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Ragspierre. | March 15, 2014 at 3:15 am

          (the above post was for Bildung)

          Bill Dung wants to hope that there are no members of the military community on the jury, if he’s going to go the “LEO SHOT UNARMED CIVILIAN BECAUSE BEING CUT OFF IN TRAFFIC GAVE HIM THE PTSD!!!” route.

          Nomesayin’?

        Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 16, 2014 at 4:16 am

        Actually, I don’t think a jury would much care if the witnesses get Walkers height and relative size compared to Harvey correct. Even if the defense brings it up, which may or may not happen. What they are going to know is that regardless of his size, Walker had the equalizer, and that will be in the back of their minds.

Isn’t it possible Walker had finished checking his tires and stood up at the point when the witness drove by? How fast were they traveling for her to have seen so much in such a short time? If the guy is standing by his van and not making a move towards Harvey and Pidel, they its clear that Walker wasn’t the one looking for a fight. I do think Walker being a cop might have got more then he was asking for. Both parties tempers were flairing and things just got out of hand. In the end Walker was the one with the gun. Had it been Harvey or Pidel, I would bet they would have shot Walker first.

    tom swift in reply to foxmuldar. | March 14, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Isn’t it possible Walker had finished checking his tires and stood up at the point when the witness drove by?

    But Walker’s police statement was that he was so occupied in checking his tires that he was unaware of the approach of Harvey until he was a mere six feet away. The G.’s statement is that Harvey was a good deal further away than that, and that Walker was standing and facing Harvey’s direction (they don’t actually specify direction, but interpreting his body language as some sort of statement to Harvey, even if incorrect, implies that they saw that Walker and Harvey were positioned in such as way as to be visible to each other).

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 12:54 am

      The G’s also said they were 100 feet apart. Maybe the G’s just suck at approximating distances.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 15, 2014 at 12:54 am

        The G’s said that the cars were 100 feet apart.

          tom swift in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 15, 2014 at 4:34 am

          What are you trying to say – the police measured the cars as being 150 feet apart, and the G’s estimated 100 feet, therefore their entire statement is questionable?

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 16, 2014 at 3:15 am

          So what? Distances seem shorter while in a moving vehicle than when standing still.

          The fact that they guesstimated 100′ and it was really 150′ is meaningless. It’s so minor it will be passed over quickly. It will not be a meaningful “gotcha” point for the defense to hammer on. That defect in their statement goes nowhere for the defense.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to foxmuldar. | March 15, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    There is no evidence Walker was checking his tires except his second statement which fully contradicts his recorded statement to 9-1-1. No witness thus far has stated they saw Walker walking around his vehicle.

MouseTheLuckyDog | March 14, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Summation of their statement.
The passed by two parked vehicles.
They saw two big guys from the front vehicle walk fast towards a guy outside the rear vehicle. They may have been walking aggressively. They may have looked like they wanted to fight.
They see the guy by the van standing, maybe waiting, with his arms crossed. They see the guy nod his head. Maybe he is doing so in a manner that suggests “come on let’s fight”. Or maybe not. [1]

Finally they see the guy reach into the vehicle, but they don’t see him pull anything out. [2]

Seems to me that their statement doesn’t add much.

[1] Don’t a lot of people, when inspecting some thing like for example tires, cross there arms? Could a guy looking at the front of a car, then looking at the tires then looking back up, kind of look like he is nodding?

[2] Could it be that what they thought was Walker reaching into the vehicle, actually be Walker getting into the vehicle, then seeing Harvey, decides it is better to stay out.

    tom swift in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 14, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    What is adds is testimony (well, it’s not testimony yet, but I expect it will be soon), independent of Pidel’s, that Walker’s claim – that he had no idea that Harvey et al were approaching until Harvey was a mere six feet away – is not to be taken at face value.

    And that lands Walker in the middle of his “duty to retreat” problem, at the very least.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 15, 2014 at 3:27 am

    Mouse, my horses are down on their feed. Maybe it’s the weather. Anyway, I’ve got some extra hay I can send to you so you’ll have a fresh batch of straws to grasp.

    You forget that Walker told 9-1-1 that a police officer had been attacked and that he had been run off the road and that “they pulled us over.” The tire tale is a complete 180 of that, as is “A police officer was attacked”. It doesn’t fly and it never will fly. Liars always realize at some point they’ve trapped themselves/backed themselves into a corner and tell more lies to try to cover their asses and/or fill in the blanks that form the contradictions. They just keeping stacking them up like cord wood. I’m sure we’ll hear yet another version from Walker to cover the problems he’s created. He will try to mesh the two stories.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | March 16, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Seeing Walker reach into his vehicle, followed by the question did they see him pull anything out can be taken two ways. Follow-up questions should have been asked: “Did you see him pull his arm or body back out of the vehicle with nothing in his hand? Or did you not have an opportunity to see because your vehicle was moving past the incident such that you don’t know one way or the other if he pulled anything out of the vehicle in his hand?” The investigator should have clarified whether they saw Walker pull nothing out or just couldn’t see the end result of Walker reaching into the car.

Good thing for the prosecution that I am not on this jury. I’ve read and re-read these posts a couple of times. Here is what I have distilled from all the blather:

1. Harvey’s car was 150+ in front of Walker’s mini-van. Why did Harvey stop?

2. Walker remained by his vehicle, period. Harvey and Pidel made a conscious effort to walk b-a-c-k to Walker’s position (150 or so feet….half a foot ball field). They did not just drive on their way. Why?

3. To me it goes to intent, and whose intent was malevolent. That would be Harvey’s…he made the extra effort to stop and then to go b-a-c-k a considerable distance to do what?

4. A guy driving a mini-van with his wife and child aboard is supposed to think what? He already had given way to Harvey’s car, who intentionally stopped ahead of him. He had a few options, but what was he to think of Harvey’s approach? Perhaps he was under the apprehension that his life and/or that of his wife and child were in danger?

5. Even if his apprehension of the situation was flawed, he could very easily have held it. What does the law say there?

For me, the malevolent intent was Harvey’s as demonstrated by his actions to stop and walk back to Walker’s parked van.

Walker would get my vote for reasonable doubt at a minimum…I would not vote to convict on any charge.

I’m seldom selected for jury duty, quite possibly because I express my firm belief that “beyond a shadow of doubt” means just that, as well when appropriate to affirm I do not believe anyone is required to stand there and take a whipping by another person, especially two people.

In short…to my view, nothing would have happened to Harvey had he just gone on his way. What did he think he was going to do, what did he want Walker to think, when he stopped and strode back to Walker’s van?

Sorry.

    Ragspierre in reply to Aridog. | March 14, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    “I’m seldom selected for jury duty, quite possibly because I express my firm belief that “beyond a shadow of doubt” means just that…”

    And that would do it.

    You don’t listen.

      Aridog in reply to Ragspierre. | March 14, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      Rags…I listen just fine. The man is charged with murder. I take that very seriously when it is first degree murder.

      I expect proof not speculation from the prosecution. One guy is standing still, the other guy(s) stopped ahead of him by over 100 feet and then strides back to the standing man. Who can demonstrate proof of what the standing man would be thinking?

      I admit I am pig headed many times. If I’d been Walker I’d have gotten back in my vehicle and run Harvey down or nearly so to get him to step aside…then drive off while Harvey strode back to his car, and while I called 911.

      Yes, I have a CPL and I do understand Walker’s problem with his use of force. I just do not believe it rises to first degree murder with the intent required, at least in my state.

        Aridog in reply to Aridog. | March 14, 2014 at 8:11 pm

        And before you respond with snark…no, I would not have shot Harvey, or even pulled my pistol. That’s just me.

          Ragspierre in reply to Aridog. | March 14, 2014 at 8:33 pm

          I agree. I was just dinging you for the “beyond a shadow…” thingy.

          Like I’ve said, given that everybody was in a fighting mood, nobody had to die that day.

          Not at all. There were ample opportunities to have made this a big, fat nutin’.

        Karen Sacandy in reply to Aridog. | March 14, 2014 at 8:15 pm

        He meant- you don’t listen, as in the standard is beyond a “reasonable doubt,” not beyond a “shadow of a doubt.”

        BIG difference.

          Okay, I understand that “difference”…and I should have used those words. However, in my mind, it is the same as a “shadow of doubt”…which is why I said it. The semantic of it all may or may not make a difference outside a courtroom.

          PS: I agree with Ragspierre most of the time, and when I am total agreement I seldom say anything because he has made the case for me anyway. In short, Rags only sees me when I have a different view. Rags is the lawyer. I am just a citizen with a contrary attitude at times.

        Semper Why in reply to Aridog. | March 15, 2014 at 2:55 pm

        Yes, I have a CPL and I do understand Walker’s problem with his use of force. I just do not believe it rises to first degree murder with the intent required, at least in my state.

        No? From where I sit, I can easily imagine Walker pulling over to defuse the situation and let Harvey continue on his way. Harvey & Pidel pull over, leave their vehicle and come back to Walker looking to kick his ass.

        Now, in the middle of an adrenalin dump and quite possibly with his wife freaking out in the passenger seat, I can easily see Walker deciding that he is going to fuck them up. Walker is a cop and they’re not exactly known for lack of confidence nor timidness in the face of danger. These are the people we hire to solve problems, yes? And these two aggressive road raging idiots who Will. Not. Let. It. Go. sure look like a problem to be solved.

        So yeah, I can see Walker deciding in two seconds of adrenaline-filled cunning to surprise Harvey with flying lead. Let ’em get close and put a stop to the threat. It is, to my mind, very understandable.

        It is also, if I understand properly, murder one in Maryland.

    tom swift in reply to Aridog. | March 14, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Forget the prosecution – it’s a good thing for the American justice system that you’re not going to be on the jury.

      Aridog in reply to tom swift. | March 14, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      I suppose it is…if your idea of American justice is one where two men are allowed to stop and walk back to a single man…intending to do what? How often do you stop in front of someone you have a traffic issue with and walk 150 or so feet back to their car?

      No matter. Doing that here (Detroit) would likely end up with you just like Harvey. DOA.

      I am usually armed myself and I dang sure would not do what Harvey did. As I’ve said, I’d not do what Walker did either. I just would very hard to convince of Walker’s malevolent intent, especially if in a state of fear.

      Trouble you don’t start, or at least do not perpetuate (back going back, etc.), will not harm you.

      Just tell me what you think Harvey had in mind as the reason to walk back to Walker’s position.

      I might change my mind.

        tom swift in reply to Aridog. | March 15, 2014 at 5:38 am

        How often do you stop in front of someone you have a traffic issue with and walk 150 or so feet back to their car?

        The only time I chat with strangers by the side of the road is after minor collisions (whether or not there’s actual damage). And in those cases, I stop a lot closer than 150 feet.

        Would you then reason that a shorter distance means that I must be even more “aggressive” than the egregious Harvey, and therefore an even more certain deadly threat to the other driver?

          Aridog in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 6:40 am

          You are missing my point, which is simply that the distance in front of Walker’s van and the motivation to walk back to it from 50 yards away implies malevolent intent on Harvey’s part.

          Why couldn’t Harvey have just driven on down the road?

          What could the fact he didn’t and was approaching from the front, with another man as well, have impacted what Walker was thinking…especially since his wife and child were present?

          Is there a “reasonable” chance that Walker was afraid for himself and his family?

          In Walker’s case, given he was being approached from the front, by two men, some here seem to think he had until arms length to determine the intent of Harvey et al. and whether Harvey had any concealed weapon. Is it possible he anticipated Harvey had the means to harm him? As for distance, please check out the reason for the Tueler 21-feet drill.

          I repeat that I have difficulty with the fact that Harvey and Pidel stopped 50 yards down the road from Walker, were walking back to Walker, etc. The could have just driven on away if they didn’t intend harm. I doubt they intended to shake hands and swap phone numbers. Now would you, if in Walker’s place, have thought that? Why not?

          For the record, (again I think) I do not believe anyone has a duty to just take a whipping by fists just because someone else is hacked off. I understand my view misses some fine points of the law. I assert that it does however reflect reality. I am weary of the anyone has the right to be anywhere doing anything until they break a technicality of law. To tell the truth, if you punch some one hard in the head you can kill them…it has happened. It is not impossible. And here comes two larger men who have already displayed anger. What do you do?

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 12:01 pm

          to walk back to it from 50 yards away implies malevolent intent on Harvey’s part.

          And there’s the crux of the problem which you can’t seem to grasp. “Malevolent intent” is not what triggers justified forcible self defense. Reasonable belief in imminent serious bodily harm has to be in there too or it just ain’t gonna pass muster in court.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | March 16, 2014 at 4:35 am

          “the motivation to walk back to it from 50 yards away implies malevolent intent on Harvey’s part.”

          Think about how what you are writing sounds. So just because someone walks 50 yards back to a car means they have malevolent intent? Come on.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | March 16, 2014 at 4:39 am

          @Aridog

          Ok, here is the opposite view point. I think that allowing someone to approach you across 50 yards, especially without trying to deescalate the situation, and waiting until they are within 10 feet of you then shooting them, just isn’t reasonable, especially since they were apparently unarmed.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Aridog. | March 15, 2014 at 7:43 pm

        You need to read BOTH of Walker’s statements.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Aridog. | March 16, 2014 at 4:33 am

        “Trouble you don’t start, or at least do not perpetuate (back going back, etc.), will not harm you.”

        This is the same argument as saying that since Zimmerman got out of his truck and went the same direction as Martin, Zimmerman is guilty.

        Just because Harvey stopped and approached Walker doesn’t automatically give Walker the right to use deadly force. what if Harvey had just wanted to get in his face and scream? I have had people bless me with their chronic halitosis a number of times. Especially, during my first few weeks at Ft. Lost in the Wood, Misery.

        You can’t use stuff like that to heap all blame on one party.

    Shane in reply to Aridog. | March 14, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    150 feet, that is a a bit of a walk and Harvey doesn’t look like he could run very far very fast without a serious chance at heart palpitations, so with Harvey at 100 feet from his car and 50 feet to the Walker, Walker gets back in his van and leaves. How long until Harvey gets back to his car and gives chase? I think that this would be plenty of time for Walker to escape. In Maryland they expect this. This is for Walker to explain why he didn’t do this.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Aridog. | March 15, 2014 at 3:29 am

    Let’s ask why Walker stopped. He was supposedly the one in fear for his life. Why did Walker stop?

      First, he stopped because Harvey threw a plastic bottle at his car and he needed to pull over and check for damages.

      Then he stopped because the familiar-to-anyone-who-drives-more-than-200-miles-a-year sound of the rumble strip led him to to believe he had one or more flat tires, and instead of using his in-car tire pressure display to check it out, he decided to pull over, get out of the van, and laboriously check each tire manually.

      Then he stopped because, as he told 911, a police officer (him) was run off the road, had bad words yelled at him, and was forced to the side of the road by his “attacker”.

      I hope someone takes his shovel off him before his NEXT version of events. The man needs to stop digging.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Amy in FL. | March 15, 2014 at 7:48 pm

        You know that and I know that. I just wondered what the poster I was responding to (Aridog) might come up with for an answer. 🙂

Karen Sacandy | March 14, 2014 at 8:18 pm

I agree with Aridog’s analysis, though not with his standard of proof. I am glad I won’t be on that jury.

I can’t imagine the two men pull over and walk back there, thinking something good was going to come out of it.

I mean, the man’s with his wife and kid, or kids… Jeeze…

At this point, I’d definitely acquit.

    tom swift in reply to Karen Sacandy. | March 14, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    I can’t imagine the two men pull over and walk back there, thinking something good was going to come out of it.

    And I can’t imagine anybody thinking that this is equivalent to an imminent deadly attack.

      Aridog in reply to tom swift. | March 14, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Okay Tom…can you tell us what you would think under the same circumstances?

      I’ll listen.

      If you are convincing, I’ll change my mind.

        Ragspierre in reply to Aridog. | March 14, 2014 at 8:56 pm

        Forgive me intruding here, but you asked the same question above, and I think it deserves a direct answer.

        I have no doubt in my military (former, briefly) mind that Harvey had in mind to punch out Mr. LEO. There is no evidence…and never will be…he intended anything beyond that. Unless, of course, you are the clairvoyant Buldung, who knows all and sees all.

        In Mr. LEO’s place, I would have planted my fanny in the driver’s seat of my car, and driven (forward or reverse) away OR stood pat.

        If standing pat, I would utter a few words of civil accord/humor through a partially rolled down window. They cost me absolutely nothing, and might very well mean that everyone goes home intact.

        I am, in that place, in a totally defensible (legally and tactically) position.

        The LAST thing I would do is let someone approach me, knowing I had a firearm, as did Walker.

        tom swift in reply to Aridog. | March 14, 2014 at 10:09 pm

        It’s all about what I don’t see here.

        I don’t see a guy with a knife or a club running at his victim.

        I don’t see a guy looking for debris at the side of the road which he can pick up and throw at his victim.

        I don’t see a guy at arm’s length from his victim, within range to smash his face with a fist.

        That means that whatever Harvey plans to do, it isn’t imminent to the degree I’d demand if he’s going to be shot to death. A few seconds later? That might be another story. But I don’t see it in this case.

        In fact, I don’t see a deadly situation at all. Roadside spats are not the sort of thing which routinely leads to dead bodies. The ones which do – with which I have no experience, I just read the same carelessly written news reports as everyone else – invariably involve auto collisions, or gunfire at some distance. I’ve never heard of a roadside altercation in which one party stops, exits his vehicle, walks a fair distance (ten car lengths?) toward his victim, pulls out a concealed firearm, and then shoots. Assuming Walker had read the same sorts of news stories as I did (though in police work he may have come across far more), he would have no serious reason to believe that he was about to be subjected to a deadly attack. Therefore, a deadly response is not justified.

        Now obviously Walker had no obligation to stand still while some guy kicks or punches him, and is entitled to defend himself from even non-lethal attacks (and for immediate purposes I am ignoring the Maryland duty-to-retreat complication, and just considering the actual self defense aspects). But the defense against non-lethal attacks can’t itself be lethal, at least not if we expect to consider it “defense”. That means, no shooting with lethal ammo. If Walker had threatened Harvey with his gun, making it apparent to Harvey that pummeling Walker might not be such a satisfying experience after all, that might be illegal brandishing in Maryland, but were I a juror I think I’d be happy to overlook that little transgression.

        Is that, in fact, what happened here? Did Walker brandish his gun before shooting? And then, despite becoming aware of Walker’s gun, did Harvey then press on with his intended assault? Pidel’s statement says “no”, Harvey stopped walking toward Walker after seeing the gun. We have nothing terribly specific so far which says “yes”, Harvey did indeed launch into attack mode after seeing the gun. Wild speculation that Harvey was a depraved individual who would have thought nothing of charging a man with a gun is not a useful “yes”. But a “yes” would be required if we are to conclude that the shooting might well have been justified.

        So in sum: Force, up to and including deadly force, can justifiably be used to defend against an imminent attack which threatens death or major bodily harm. From what I can see, what’s been presented so far in this case doesn’t come very close to meeting that standard.

        And that’s the short form of what I think at the moment – of course, pending developments.

          janitor in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 12:34 am

          Bullying someone with a moving vehicle while target’s wife and little kids are in the car should suffice as life-threatening.

          It’s sick, irrational behavior. Why should there be an assumption that after the target stops his car and the irrational goons stop ahead on the road, then approach on foot, apparently wanting more, the threat to life and limb somehow has ceased?

          Would you perceive this differently if the target weren’t a LEO and his family but a 16-year-old girl, or a 70-year-old woman?

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 5:04 am

          Bullying someone with a moving vehicle while target’s wife and little kids are in the car should suffice as life-threatening.

          That’s all very nice, but it has nothing to do with this case. Walker shooting Harvey after both vehicles were stopped and both men were on foot can’t conceivably be cast as the use of deadly force in defense against a vehicular attack which wasn’t happening. If Walker’s defense tries that argument, the jury will see a case of revenge, not defense, and Walker will be off to prison.

          janitor in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 5:48 am

          Walker shooting Harvey after both vehicles were stopped and both men were on foot can’t conceivably be cast as the use of deadly force in defense against a vehicular attack which wasn’t happening.

          Disagree. It was reasonably a continuation of the same attack but merely changed MO. What conceivable possible other reason could there have been for Harvey to have stopped his vehicle too and be approaching Walker. In fact, that makes it even more threatening. If it were merely temporary “road rage”, why didn’t Harvey just move on.

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 6:17 am

          Harvey isn’t on trial. His actions need no explanation or defense. Walker is on trial. He’s the one who needs a compelling story involving reasonable fear of imminent deadly attack. Fanciful “what-ifs” about things which his victim didn’t actually do won’t go very far to provide the jury with a compelling story.

          Aridog in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 6:49 am

          There is nothing “fanciful” about the simple fact that Walker had stopped 50+ yards behind Harvey & Pidel. That is a form of retreat. Yet, still Harvey and Pidel continued the confrontation instead of driving on away.

          Ragspierre in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 9:19 am

          It could just as readily be an invitation to the ball…to come out and fight.

          “Curbing” following a road-rage bout is usually just exactly that. (BTDT)

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 11:51 am

          That is a form of retreat.

          That’s nice. So what? It didn’t do the job. Maryland requires retreat, not a half-hearted and ineffective pretense.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Aridog. | March 16, 2014 at 4:51 am

        No, you won’t, you haven’t so far even when given an explanation. You pretty much said you would never change your mind in your opening comments, but I encourage tom to try if he has the will.

        From my point of view you need to realize that the testimony you are seeing comes from a Motion to Dismiss the charges against Walker, therefore it is slanted in Walkers favor, as it should be or his lawyer sucks. This isn’t all the evidence or most likely not even a 1/10 of the evidence.

        Also, these discussion haven’t turned to the guilty/not guilty stage as of yet. This is about whether Walkers actions amount to reasonable self defense.

        So far from what I have read, I am no where near 1st degree murder or even 2nd degree. However, I believe that the force Walker used was unreasonable, though I can believe that he was in fear of his and his families safety. So I am thinking this was a case of “imperfect self defense”, which would probably mean a manslaughter conviction for Walker, with fairly shot sentence.

        If Harvey had displayed anything resembling a weapon I would feel differently. While I can get that Walker felt he needed to defend himself, I don’t think he had reason to fear death or great bodily harm, so shooting was to much force, making is defense claim, “imperfect”

      amatuerwrangler in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 1:01 am

      It does not require “eminent deadly threat”. The general standard is “great bodily injury or death”, and its the rational fear of that happening, not the actual happening that is the decision point. The jury has to decide if that fear was rationally held. The person defending himself (herself) does not have to actually receive injury, only to fear it will happen.

      Harvey showed himself to be not only aggressive, but irrationally so. By Pidel’s statement we hear that Walker showed (brandished?) his pistol earlier in the encounter, so Harvey knows Walker is armed. Harvey should have known that he was not armed… and still he presses the attack as if he thinks it will never go beyond fisticuffs. His last thoughts before the lights went out for the last time might have something like, “now that wasn’t very smart…”

      And Walker did not know if Harvey was armed or not, but could, should, have considered the possibility.

        tom swift in reply to amatuerwrangler. | March 15, 2014 at 4:58 am

        “eminent deadly threat”

        “Eminent”?

        You’re a funny guy.

        And now, a little exercise for students – define the English words eminent, imminent, and immanent. As you will see, class, they are quite different.

        The person defending himself (herself) does not have to actually receive injury, only to fear it will happen.

        And that’s why that word imminent is a factor. The fear of deadly attack can’t be fear that the attack will happen next year, or in ten minutes, or in two minutes. The attack has to be on the way, like, now; but it doesn’t have to have happened yet. “Imminent” doesn’t mean that the attack has started, it means it’s in the immediate future. Nothing short of imminent (or current) attack justifies lethal force.

        Harvey showed himself to be not only aggressive, but irrationally so.

        This is meaningless.

        Harvey was angry, but he was angry for a tolerably good reason; he thought some jerk had just run him off Rt. 3. That doesn’t make him irrational.

        By Pidel’s statement we hear that Walker showed (brandished?) his pistol earlier in the encounter, so Harvey knows Walker is armed.

        Pidel told the police that he thought he saw a pistol through the windows of Walker’s van. He never said that he mentioned it to Harvey, but he was fairly clear that when he (Pidel) thought he saw the pistol, it was aft of Harvey’s probable line of sight. In other words, we’ve seen no statement to the effect that Harvey may have seen a gun, whether or not Pidel saw one, and no statement that Harvey was warned, by Pidel or anyone else, that Walker had a gun. So far as we’ve heard from the police statements, the first time Harvey learned that a gun was involved was when Walker pointed his gun at him.

          Aridog in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 6:56 am

          You are a funny guy too with the nit picking a word definition. Did you have any doubt in your mind that he meant “imminent?”

          Now here’s an exercise for you, place yourself in Walker’s position. Would you have thought Harvey was about to beat you silly? Would that be a reasonable fear of “imminent” danger.

          Better question, have you ever been in fist fight and lost badly? Against two men no less?

          I am not proposing that Walker was right, only that from what is evident so far, he appears justified. He had stopped. Harvey and Pidel had not…they were approaching from the front..e.g., back tracking to continue something. What?

          Ragspierre in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 9:30 am

          Colorably, Harvey was stopped and walking for exactly the same reason that Walker was stopped and had gotten out of his car, and stood waiting for Harvey.

          Harvey could have read Walker’s body language the same way that the Gs did.

          There was going to be a dust-up, with two men apparently volunteering for the bout.

          That is as plausible (more IMNHO) than concluding the opposite…that Walker had “retreated” to the side of the road, but then “advanced” to stand beside his van with his arms across his chest.

          In any case…developing…

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | March 15, 2014 at 11:36 am

          Did you have any doubt in your mind that he meant “imminent?”

          It’s hardly picking on nits. As the statement indicates, the guy hasn’t the slightest f’ing clue about what the laws of self defense are about, nor on what concepts they’re based. I’m being charitable and assuming it’s because he can’t grasp the importance of the concept of imminence. But maybe he’s just terminally clueless. It’s of little consequence.

          Now here’s an exercise for you, place yourself in Walker’s position.

          I can’t possibly place myself in Walker’s position. I’m not sufficiently stupid, I’m not sufficiently duplicitous, and I’m not sufficiently homicidal to ever be in that position.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | March 16, 2014 at 5:10 am

          “Now here’s an exercise for you, place yourself in Walker’s position.”

          Ok, the problem there is I would have never let these 2 meat heads get that close to me. First of all I would have never gotten out of my car until I was certain that the car that had caused me enough concern to make me pull over was well and truly gone. I would know that they had stopped because I would have kept my eyes on the ass end of that Honda until it was well out of sight. So when the 2 meat heads did decide to get out and come towards my vehicle, I would have been ready to move when big boy got to the 100 foot mark. Then I would have blown past him and his buddy and giggled about them having to make it back to their car. As I was driving away I would be on the phone with local police describing what had happened and giving them the plate numbers that I had told my wife to write down. The if I saw that little Honda in my rear view, I would handle matters from there depending on what they did. So there is what I would have done in Walkers shoes. I refuse to believe that a Trained LEO let someone cause him enough concern that he had to pull over, then magically forgot about them so he could go check his freaking tires. Sorry, I call BS on that one and the only thing that will convince me otherwise is uninterrupted video of the incident.

          “Would you have thought Harvey was about to beat you silly? Would that be a reasonable fear of “imminent” danger.”

          Imminent danger, yes, absolutely, imminent fear of death or great bodily harm….ehhhhhhh? Like I said Harvey could have just wanted to get in his face and scream, maybe even to try to provoke Walker to swing first, I can see someone who would stop on the side of the road to fight being the type of person who would try to goad someone into swinging first that way they would be justified when they beat the other person up. I have been in fist fights many times, even lost a couple, always got hurt even when I won. But even when I got beat up I never suffered death or great bodily harm.

I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other on this case but am enjoying the posts and the comments. I do keep coming back to one thing and that is this: at what point was Pidel planning on telling his friend Harvey that Walker had a gun? And why was Pidel walking toward someone he knew had a gun?

    bildung in reply to gasper. | March 14, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    I focused on these points in yesterday’s thread.

    The gun issue will completely destroy Pidel’s credibility.

    If he sticks with the ‘didn’t tell Harvey’ line the jury will obviously think him a liar. Its simply preposterous.

    If he recants of seeing a gun, in order to avoid the trap of looking precisely like the sort of depraved fool who (like Harvey) would angrily confront an armed man, then he defines himself as a liar.

    If he can’t be believed about the gun brandishing, he cant be believed about anything else.

    And this is the only witness the state can produce to refute Walker’s contention that Harvey bull rushed him, necessitating the shooting.

    So its game over. Pidel is the defense counsel’s dream.

      Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 9:02 pm
        bildung in reply to Ragspierre. | March 14, 2014 at 9:14 pm

        Do you think silliness distracts anyone from the fact that you’ve been gullible enough to think that your key witness, Pidel, is credible?

        Pidel is the Rachel Jeantelle of the Walker trial.

          Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 9:27 pm

          Really? You’ve seen his testimony, IF any is given?

          More clairvoyance.

          bildung in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 9:39 pm

          IF is might right, Rags.

          He’s already made the statement, so defense counsel will totally discredit him IF he testifies to some cock and bull about not telling Harvey about the gun.

          Retracting the statement makes him look even worse.

          Looks to me like the state would be better off not calling Pidel at all and just hoping for a circumstantial case.

          Baker in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 11:42 pm

          I take it you did not find Ms. Jeantelle credible.

          Ragspierre in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 11:20 am

          Let’s try a lil’ vignette, shall we…???

          Prosecutor’s direct, Pidel: What did you say about seeing a gun in your police statement made under oath immediately after your friend was shot and killed by Mr. Walker?

          Pidel: I said that I’d seen a gun pointed at us during one of the times we swapped positions with the van, as we were beside the van on the passenger side.

          Prosecutor: What makes you think that Mr. Harvey saw a gun at that time?

          Pidel: I don’t think he did see it. I don’t think he ever saw a gun until just before Walker killed him.

          Defense cross: You told the police you saw a gun, right?

          Pidel: Yes.

          Defense: But you want the jury to believe that you never mentioned that to your friend as you were both walking back to the Walkers’ car, is that right?

          Pidel: Yes,sir, that is true. I never told Joe about seeing the gun.

          Defense: That was a pretty important piece of information, don’t you think?

          Pidel: Yes, it was.

          Defense: But you never even mentioned it to your friend, right?

          Pidel: Right.

          Prosecutor redirect: Looking back on your failure to mention your sighting of a gun waved by the Defendant during the road-rage part of this incident, what are your thoughts on why you never mentioned the gun to Mr. Harvey?

          Pidel: I don’t know. I don’t know why I never mentioned it. I know I wish I had. I know that Joe might be alive right now. I guess I never thought anybody would just shoot Joe over this…just gun him down like that.

          Defense re-cross: The truth is you never saw a gun as you reported to the police, isn’t it?

          Pidel: No, sir. I did see a gun.

          Defense: But you want the jury to believe you never mentioned that essential fact to your friend, right?

          Pidel: That’s the truth. I can’t remember ever mentioning it to Joe.

          Defense: And you were walking up to a man with a gun, right?

          Pidel: Yes, sir. I was walking with Joe.

          Defense: What, you are not afraid of people with guns?

          Pidel: Depends. I know a lot of people with guns. They don’t kill people over nothing. I wasn’t thinking about a gunfight.

          Defense: But, again, you never mentioned the gun, knowing that might have changed what happened that day, if it was true, isn’t that correct?

          Pidel: Yes.

          Defense: And you can’t offer any reason for your failure, can you?

          Pidel: No, sir.

          Defense: I suggest you didn’t fail to tell your friend about any gun because you never saw a gun, isn’t that the real truth?

          Pidel: No, sir. I saw a gun, and I wish to God I’d warned Joe. But I just didn’t. I don’t know why not. I don’t think I’ll ever know. And now Joe is dead.

          Prosector: I have no further questions, Your Honor.
          ________________________________________

          Now, anybody can play along…

          Go for it, as Rocky Balboa said.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 7:52 pm

          It’s like watching a cartoon, bildung. It’s laughable.

      tom swift in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 10:31 pm

      The gun issue will completely destroy Pidel’s credibility.

      To me, defense is going to have to work a lot harder than that to “completely” destroy anything.

      Pidel’s story about seeing the gun seems to be nonsense, even if only from internal inconsistencies. Meaning, if he did think that he’d seen a gun, why, by his own words, did he not subsequently act as if he’d seen a gun?

      But was he lying, or was he mistaken? And if mistaken, why? Was he beating up on himself, thinking that if only he’d done something differently, his buddy wouldn’t be bleeding to death right in front of him? And would that “something differently” have been realizing sooner that Walker had a gun, and then warning Harvey appropriately? I can see a person generating spurious memories of unclear objects glimpsed in a moving vehicle. That would just mean that in some respects his testimony won’t be 100% reliable. But nobody would expect it to be; nobody’s testimony is 100% reliable.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tom swift. | March 14, 2014 at 11:05 pm

        It takes two questions to totally destroy what little credibility Pidel has.

        Q1: Were you drinking that night?
        Q2: (if necessary ) Were you as drunk as your friend that night?

      ThomasD in reply to bildung. | March 14, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      Which would be a major problem. If Pidel were on trial.

      But he is not, Walker is the one on trial, and it is Walker’s credibility, or lack there of, which will rule the day.

      If defense counsel is pinning their hopes on Pidel saving their bacon then Walker is in deep trouble.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 3:38 am

      “If he can’t be believed about the gun brandishing, he cant be believed about anything else.”

      Then why would you believe Walker after he gave two widely differing stories to dispatch and the investigating officer?

      You’re emotionally invested in your position and are wearing blinders to anything that doesn’t support your position.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 16, 2014 at 5:19 am

      Yea, now you are saying Pidel isn’t credible because of some nuance of his statement. Yesterday or day before it was Pidel isn’t credible because of his previous felony conviction, you just don’t Pidel to be credible. The problem is, so far, most of the witnesses statements corroborate more of Pidel’s statement than they do any of Walker’s stories.

      Frankly, your assumption that Pidel is completely discredited because in a stressful situation he didn’t tell Walker, who was screaming and livid by all accounts that he saw a gun. Well I respectfully disagree, as have most folks here. Ya know, we are all human and humans aren’t perfect and we all do bone headed stuff at times. I bet Pidel wishes he had told Harvey he thought he saw a gun, but being human he just might not have, it doesn’t do a damn thing to his credibility, it just makes him human.

Richard Aubrey | March 14, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Does the G’s car have a magnifying rear view mirror? Did they buy a lottery ticket that day on account of not hitting anything while driving one way and looking the other?
IMO, the jurors takeaway would be to confirm the two punks had stopped what they were doing–going to a party, iirc–in order to walk fifty yards along a highway back to a guy with whom they’d had a road fuss.
This being the case, the defense’s suggestion that Walker feared more road rage if he got into his car would be feasible. And that means no avenue of retreat.
Let’s say I failed to flee down an alley and onto a busy street because I was convinced, incorrectly, that it was a blind alley? Seems as if that scenario would be a useful analogy.

    tom swift in reply to Richard Aubrey. | March 14, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Walker feared more road rage if he got into his car would be feasible. And that means no avenue of retreat.

    I make no claim to be an expert on the text of the law, but Maryland seems to require that an avenue of retreat, if open, must be used. There’s no requirement that the victim of the attack agree that retreat is an optimal response, or even that retreat will prove effective in either the short or long terms. In a SYG state, the victim can make that determination for himself; but not in Maryland.

Does anyone know how large Walker is?

My impression is that he was about 5’11”, but I cant cite a source.

I’ve heard no one suggest, before this couple, that he was a towering 6’6″.

I think a ‘mistake’ of that magnitude is indeed significant and much of what’s left seems self cancelling.

Their account contradicts Walker on when he first saw the assailants, if people this imprecise can be believed, but their account also confirms that Harvey was bearing down on Walker with malice aforethought, if people this imprecise can be believed.

And so on. So, natch.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to bildung. | March 15, 2014 at 3:49 am

    Walker also contradicts himself on when he first saw Harvey. First he told dispatch that Harvey had “pulled him over.” Then he told the responding investigator that he first saw Harvey when he was 10′ away.

    Neither of Walker’s stories are feasible, but the disparity between the two very different accounts makes them downright bizarre, especially coming from an investigator for a prosecutor’s office.

      Given what we have seen so far I think it safe to suspect that, at least part of the reason the state chose the charge they did is the inconsistent, and possibly non corroborated nature of his statements.

        Oh, indeed. It’s sometimes possible to sell even a seemingly crazy story to the police/prosecutors.

        The moment the story start’s changing in substantive ways–well, that’s a HUGE red flag.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Gremlin1974 in reply to bildung. | March 16, 2014 at 5:23 am

    Really, I have been a nurse for 20 years and if someone asks me how tall they are and how much they weigh, I tell them to get on the scale and/or stand next to the measuring stick, because I suck at guessing.

    I realize that you believe that getting one thing wrong in a statement makes someone a non-credible witness, I would suggest, however, that the greater portion of humanity disagree’s with you and understands that no one is perfect, not even you bildung, except in hindsight of course.

I probably missed this but what is Walker’s height?

    Baker in reply to Vince. | March 14, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    “Det. Walker is actually 5 feet 11½ inches and weighs about 210 lbs”
    (per a footnote in the Motion to Dismiss)

They may know the make of the van because they’ve owned one before.
Walker standing next to the van may have looked bigger compared to the height of the van. Plus they’re sitting in a car lower and that makes anyone look larger standing out side.
It contradicts Walker’s testimony that Harvey and Pidel surprised him while he was checking his tires.
What did he reach back into the van for? (the gun? the phone?)
He may have made a different motion that inferred “come on” to them but they don’t remember it or can’t articulate it.
Pidel’s testimony has always seemed self serving.(and btw, why hasn’t Pidel been charged with assault or threatening?)
Of course Walker’s testimony will be self serving but has he mentioned reaching back in the car? He lied about being surprised by them.
Harvey was unarmed on his approach to Walker.
I’m still asking why he only shot Harvey and Pidel also.

    tom swift in reply to jakee308. | March 14, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Pidel’s testimony has always seemed self serving.

    Well, I should hope so. Otherwise it could be impeached on the grounds that Pidel isn’t of sound mind.

    I’d expect both Pidel’s and Walker’s accounts to be skewed in their own interests. We can’t require more than that, or we’d be forcing them into self-incrimination.

    (and btw, why hasn’t Pidel been charged with assault or threatening?)

    Ummm, whom did he assault?

    The state seems unimpressed by possible assault charges; otherwise, Walker probably wouldn’t have been charged with anything. Well, except for that pestilential “duty to retreat” thing.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to jakee308. | March 15, 2014 at 4:06 am

    Maybe Walker didn’t shoot Pidel because he wasn’t slinging the enword at Walker. Walker emphasized Harvey’s use of the enword several times. It seems like it really stuck in his craw.

      Or it makes an excellent shield.

      Witness some of the comments here. That word (in the minds of some people) strikes fear in the hearts of veteran police officers, doncha know.

      A powerful empathetic response. Remember how it was used in the Zimmerman trial.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Ragspierre. | March 15, 2014 at 7:58 pm

        Yeah, I saw those posts, lol! 🙂 Also, ol’ bildung’s got Walker afflicted with PTSD to explain Walker’s widely differing tales. Hilarious the lengths they will go to, just like the Zimmerman case.

Richard Aubrey | March 14, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Tom Swift,

If I understand your understanding of MD law, the prosecution can label anything it pleases as an avenue of retreat and indict on that basis. That would be the extension of your description.
To use my analogy, if I decided not to run down an obviously blind alley, the prosecution could say that there was a possibility that something else besides debouching into a busy street might have been available.

Now, I understand that’s a stretch. But prosecutors, who are not reluctant to withhold exculpatory evidence, would not likely have any scruples about claiming that, if they thought a somnolent jury of fatheads following a high-carb lunch would buy it.
I guess I would be concerned, were I a prosecutor, about whether the jury contained anybody with an IQ above 100 in the Walker case. Jurors can null something that seems so incredibly cattywampus to sense and justice.
As I’ve said before, this is a case of dueling windows: Prosecution wants the longest window of opportunity to escape/retreat while defense wants none, or at least the shortest possible.
I am in a SYG state and so this is difficult for me to accept as a result of American legislative processes.

    tom swift in reply to Richard Aubrey. | March 14, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    the prosecution can label anything it pleases as an avenue of retreat and indict on that basis.

    No. As I understand it, it doesn’t have to be easy, or even effective, but it has to be possible. The state can’t demand that you signal to your buddies to pick you up in their flying saucer, or that you use a teleportation device to escape, or that you drive away down a road which doesn’t exist or is blocked off for repairs. It can’t demand that you ford a river in flood, or cross a busy four-lane highway, or run through a burning forest. But anything short of those extremes? Yes, the state can probably consider pretty much anything else to be an available path of retreat.

    I’m certainly not saying that I approve of any of this.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | March 16, 2014 at 5:29 am

      Yep, from what Andrew has said on the subject, basically if you are at the end of a dead end alley that is blocked by a 6 foot fence and you have time to at least try to climb that fence before your attackers are on you and you don’t at least try to climb then you missed a reasonable route of retreat. Even as silly as that sounds.

        I don’t think I ever said THAT. 🙂

        I probably said something like: “In a duty-to-retreat state, if there exists a safe avenue of retreat you are required to take advantage of it before you may use deadly force–and in a few of those states, like MA, even non-deadly force–in self-defense.”

        Whether there existed a “safe avenue of retreat” is obviously subject to a great deal of hindsight on the part of police, prosecutors, judges, and juries. Thus, the danger.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | March 16, 2014 at 3:06 pm

          Sorry I was very tired when I wrote that and I didn’t mean it to seem like I was actually quoting you. My apologies. I was trying to think of a kind of out there example that actually still made sense, but anyhow, I blame is on the sleep deprivation, lol.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Richard Aubrey. | March 15, 2014 at 3:58 am

    If Walker was truly frightened, his first act of retreat would be to call 9-1-1 or have his wife do it while he watched the road and Harvey, but he didn’t do that. He waited until AFTER he shot Harvey THREE times and then they called 9-1-1, first to report that an officer, who didn’t have a scratch on him, had been attacked. Neither Walker’s wife nor Walker said “WE were attacked”, so where’s the fear for his family? The dispatcher had to drag it out of Walker that he was the officer in question and that he was off-duty.

DINORightMarie | March 15, 2014 at 2:15 am

I have a totally different take, and question, about these witnesses. Now, I am not a lawyer, so…..maybe I’m totally off. But….

Would it matter that the witness (Mr. G) was looking in a mirror, in particular a passenger rear-view-mirror? Wouldn’t that give a distorted view of what is seen? And, it’s very limited in what can be seen, and how much, because of a rear view mirror’s small size – and its placement on the vehicle.

The passenger mirrors in most cars say (or older ones use to say), “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” Did this mirror say that? Was it a vehicle that had a large mirror, or a small one (depending on the vehicle, they vary so much). Plus, everything would have been happening in inverse, while traveling at a fair speed, and probably at an angle beneficial to the driver. Not very good vantage for “eye witness” testimony, I believe, and I would think easily disputed as to accuracy by a defense attorney.

So many things they (Mr. & Ms. G) describe are very subjective, often only their opinion and interpretation of what they “saw,” with the added distortion of their “view” of events, or at least Mr. G’s “view” by a mirror…..

To me, their “eye witness” testimony can easily be tossed out, or at least most of Mr. G’s statement.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to DINORightMarie. | March 15, 2014 at 4:03 am

    The witnesses made clear the parts of their statement wherein they interpreted what they saw versus what the objectively saw.

    If called to testify, their statement will be scrutinized carefully by the defense or should be and the issues you raised will likely be brought up. That’s the lawyer’s job.

    tom swift in reply to DINORightMarie. | March 15, 2014 at 5:21 am

    while traveling at a fair speed,

    All of this action happened on the ramp whereby Rt 3 North feeds onto Rt 97, and ramp traffic isn’t generally at highway speeds. I don’t know what the ramp speeds are in Maryland, but here in pokey ol’ New England they’re too often a ridiculous 25 mph. That’s practically parked; I’d say it would leave plenty of time for leisurely views of the scenery or any of the local sights.

    Ragspierre in reply to DINORightMarie. | March 15, 2014 at 9:53 am

    **To me, their “eye witness” testimony can easily be tossed out, or at least most of Mr. G’s statement.**

    I guess you mean that from the POV of a juror, which is fine.

    Before you “toss it out” think about the last time you drove through your neighborhood at, say 35 mph. Could you tell the neighbor was burning leaves, and was still raking? If he was smoking a pipe, might you see it? Could you tell the kids were playing hop-scotch and not cowboys and indians? That dog walking along…what breed was it, and how many pups was it nursing with those distended teets?

    Look at something in the rear-view mirror while sitting in the passenger seat. You might not count the pimples on a teenager’s face, but you COULD tell it was a teenager and what they were wearing, and if they leaned into a car, right?

Richard Aubrey | March 15, 2014 at 6:58 am

Tom Swift. My father, from CT, says the reason Antiques Road Show doesn’t do New England is that the folks aren’t through using that stuff.
Merging speed is whatever it takes to merge. In my state, some exit ramps from the interstate are posted 25mph, which will get you rear-ended if you try it. Some entrance and exit traffic patterns require merging at highway speed. While you’re trying to get to the right to exit, people are coming in from the right trying to get up to speed. Speed limit signs are a waste of money and you don’t have an instant’s free attention to look at them. Dual or triple turn lanes, as in this case, provoke paranoia as to the guy who just went into your left rear blind spot.
This sort of thing is free-form traffic patterning, depending on the other guys, and from time to time you make a good defensive move and everybody goes on their appointed rounds.
And everybody freaking knows it, which is one reason a jury is going to wonder what kind of nutcase Harvey is/was, and what Walker could reasonably think about it.
Due to an old injury, I can’t turn my head very far, so I have to make sure the views in my mirrors overlap and, simultaneously, feed into what I can see by turning my head. Mess up the mirrors and some good part of the world may as well be in the Twilight Zone. Which, also, jurors know.

As to avenues to retreat: I can see–based on what I’ve read in the last few years–a prosecutor insisting that I had no way of knowing the blind alley didn’t actually have a way out. And if it didn’t, that I chose it to suck the guy in.

Full disclosure, I had a relation who was among five courtmartialed for causing the suicide of a soldier in Iraq. In order for the Army to get smooshy with the editorial board of the New York Times, the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence. I’ve read numbers of reports of this sort of thing–Nifong was no one-off–and I’d trust a riverboat gambler before a prosecutor. If that hasn’t been clear so far.

Andrew, this is the exact type of situation I referenced in another self-defense thread (Dunn): Two men, apparently agreeing to engage in a fistfight, then one escalates with deadly force.

Do the facts in the ‘Walker-Harvey’ case as presently known show Walker to be in a reasonable fear for his life? Do two men advancing on one man with his family change the facts?

I don’t know if I could get past any reasonable doubt here for murder. Vol-Manslaughter maybe.

    When I first started covering this story I believed that the greatest threat to Walker’s self-defense claim was that he failed to take advantage of a safe avenue of retreat, by simply getting back in his minivan, putting his flashers on, and slowly rolling backwards.

    Even if he rolled back at only 1-2 mph, slow enough that Harvey could have caught up on foot, he’d still have the narrative of Harvey running him down. Realistically, seeing that perfectly adequate, lengthy, and reasonably straight on-ramp with the broad, paved shoulder, I certainly would have been able to reverse safely at a speed in excess of Harvey’s foot speed.

    Might Harvey have run back to his own car, u-turned, and re-engaged the “road rage”? Sure. But then we’d have a different set of facts.

    Now, the defense argument is that Walker was acting in defense of others, and under MD law there is no duty to retreat when defending others.

    And that may be true, and if his counsel is very convincing it may be enough. After all, Harvey was, one could argue, a racist, confrontational a-hole looking for a road-side fight.

    To my mind, however, this looks like a completely unnecessary killing. And that can be tough to get past a jury’s moral conscience–especially in a blue state like MD.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Ragspierre in reply to Andrew Branca. | March 15, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      “After all, Harvey was, one could argue, a racist, confrontational a-hole looking for a road-side fight.”

      Yep. That is a fair argument, based on what little we know now.

      That leaves a very long and tenuous road before the defense can show how Harvey posed any threat whatsoever to any third party. And right now, I see no evidence to support that.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Ragspierre. | March 16, 2014 at 5:35 am

        I will go one step farther and say that I am convinced that Harvey was a a “racist, confrontational a-hole”, but none of those 3 things justifies Walker shooting him.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Andrew Branca. | March 16, 2014 at 3:45 am

      …..thus the defense has conceded the point that Walker did not retreat.

I have a thought for any LEOs reading this. Do the police get any training that prepares them mentally for firing their weapon at close range into another human being? I can’t seem to get by the peculiarity of the actions by Walker. He is a trained cop, has a gun and I assume his badge with him. As big old Harvey was advancing toward him, why didn’t he just avoid any confrontation by displaying his gun and badge, saying he is a cop? Unless Harvey was impaired by alcohol or drugs, a gun and a badge is pretty much all a person would need to see in order to back off and calm down. (Cops do things that we laypersons do not understand, such as using deadly force against a one legged guy in a wheelchair wielding a screwdriver.)

So why is this important to me? Unlike George Zimmerman and quite like Michael Dunn, the facts as known show me that Walker was itching for a confrontation, knowing that he held the trump card in the form of a weapon. Walker failed to de-escalate or retreat, regardless of whether he had a legal duty to do so. I don’t buy Walker’s story that he stopped to check his tires and all of a sudden, Harvey was on him before he had a chance to do anything.

Still a no on the Murder charge, still a maybe on the Voluntary Manslaughter.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Redneck Law. | March 16, 2014 at 5:41 am

    Frankly the most outstanding thing here to me is that Walker claimed that he fired a “Warning Shot”. Unless that has been disproved at this point. I can’t imagine any law enforcement agency that condones much less teaches their officers to fire “warning shots”. To me a “warning shot” is just as good as firing randomly into public and I refuse to believe that liability conscious agency’s would tell their officer to engage in such practices. So why did Walker “fire a warning shot”?

Andrew,

In the original pre grand jury charge, Walker was charged with the unlawful possession of a weapon in apparent contravention of 18 U.S. Code § 926B.

Do you know what happened to those charges?

    The “gun charges” he’s currently facing are not gun charges per se, but the “extra punishment for having used a gun” type charges as imposed by Florida’s “10-20-Life” statute.

    If he’s cleared of murder, these gun charges also disappear, as they are a function of the underlying killing.

    Unlike, say, a gun possession charge which could stand on its own merits, even if the killing was lawful (theoretically, not under these facts).

    –Andrew @LawSelfDefense

Just in case you are still listen Gremlin1974 your comment here:

I would have been ready to move when big boy got to the 100 foot mark. Then I would have blown past him and his buddy …

…actually mirrors my point of view and would change my opinion, even though you alleged I would not do so.

Please understand, my perspective, perhaps unduly influenced by military experience, is one solely of “survival.” Only one aspect of that requires shooting someone. That aspect could have been avoided by the proposal you’ve suggested…one I would have followed myself (I may have said something like that earlier, can’t find it now).

I am still not convinced that Harvey wasn’t the one who wanted to fight…you have to be either pretty fired up or pretty stupid to intentionally walk back in to an ambush…really. A tried and true tactic is to engage and enemy then draw them in to an ambush…old as Hannibal.

In short, had Harvey one ounce of sense he would have driven away from his frontal position and be alive to day. I am not convinced this “right” to be anywhere you want to be and do whatever you want to do (beat crap out of someone) is a protected action when the opposite could be in fear for their life (whether they were of not is not the issue to me).

Very simply, Harvey is dead due to his foolishness. I’ve been lured to enter a building, once upon a time, that was a trap of explosive nature…didn’t do that. We waited and found the opposition in the building next door, radio time ensued…three 155 mm artillery rounds eliminated that problem…both of them. See if we’d entered the occupied building, not the bobby trapped building, we’d have been in danger of being shot by men who were justifiably in fear for their life…since our aim was to kill them, given the times. They not be murderers would they. Nor would we.

Fights are best not started, but when they are not being stupid is the key to survival. Harvey was stupid, and not so innocently, no more than we would have been entering that building.

Survival is all that matters, for you and anyone along side of you. You win by being smarter not more macho. None of that justifies lethal force per se…but if I was a juror, I’d be skeptical of any claim that Walker wasn’t in fear….except for your point about what he could have done, boogied straight ahead as Harvey approached. I can see and feel that.

That means both of them could have avoided the lethal consequences. I’d be pressed hard on that matter. Let’s see what else comes out. I don’t care about of all the blather…simple facts sway me…like the distance, the motivation to engage by whom, and like the opportunity to flee forward as you suggest.

See my mind is already changing. Maybe. You do make a good point that most rational ordinary men can grasp. All the lawyer talk and various “testimony” is less important to me than the physical environment and what potential is available there. Your point is well taken.

Ragspierre is right, as he often is, no sane lawyer, either side, would want me on any jury….because I am not listening to all the blather…just looking a the simple physical aspects and the simplest of emotional responses….as I have experienced them myself.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Aridog. | March 16, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    I stand happily corrected. I agree that Harvey was the more overtly aggressive and confrontational of the 2 parties. My main thing here is that a cop from all we have so far basically did nothing to try to deescalate the situation before resorting to deadly force, had he been on duty when this happened he would be undergoing an IA investigation, but I am not even sure that it would be ruled a good shoot for an on duty cop.

    I understand your point on survival, especially in combat, however those “combat responses” can get you in a great deal of trouble in civilian life, which I am certain you already know.

    Thank you for your service and have a great day.

      Ragspierre in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 16, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      Amen to that last.

      Aridog in reply to Gremlin1974. | March 16, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      I understand your point on survival, especially in combat, however those “combat responses” can get you in a great deal of trouble in civilian life …

      True, if you are careless…but please notice that my survival narrative included not doing something…e.g., being smart, using one’s head.

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