Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

May 24, 2012

Defense attorney: Witness changed his story

TAHLEQUAH —  

The defense counsel for Bronson Butcher on Wednesday targeted eyewitness accounts of a man who claims he saw the accused shoot an Oktaha man at a Tahlequah home in March 2011.
Blake Gower had previously testified he, Butcher and Dane Dunegan were at Butcher’s duplex on Wisteria Lane on March 15, 2011, when Butcher shot Dunegan. Gower said he was sitting at a table, cutting up marijuana buds, when the first shot sounded. He testified he didn’t see Butcher fire the first shot at Dunegan, but looked up just in time to see him aim the gun at Dunegan’s head and fire a second shot.
Butcher is being tried for first-degree murder this week in Cherokee County District Court.
On the stand Wednesday, Gower said he was “scared,” and ran out the back door of the duplex and into a nearby wooded area after the shooting. He called a buddy to pick him up somewhere near Jones Road.
Special Agent Todd Spurlock, of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, told jurors Wednesday that when he arrived at the crime scene to mark, photograph and collect evidence, the back door of the duplex was locked. 
In response to a question from Butcher’s attorney, Donn Baker, Spurlock said it didn’t appear the back door had been used. But Spurlock also told Assistant District Attorney Josh King he didn’t recall the door, which opened inward, being obstructed in any way that would prohibit it from being opened.
Donn Baker also questioned several other claims made by Gower at various times in the past year – including in police reports and at a preliminary hearing last year – and how the stories had seemingly changed from one statement to the next.
Gower had admitted he’d lied out of fear when he first spoke to police, but when questioned about later inconsistencies, he claimed he didn’t recall saying certain things, or that reports by investigating officers might be incorrect.

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