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"We believe that Mr. White acted in complete self-defense."
Those 10 words form the basis of the defense in the Wells Circuit Court trial of Tyler White, according to a story in the Bluffton News-Banner. The trial may last as long as two weeks.
On the first day after a jury was empaneled, the lead defense attorney, James Voyles of Indianapolis, spoke those words as he opened White's side of the case.
Voyles said White, 29, of Bluffton, was confronted by his estranged wife, the former Amy Meyer of Berne, on October 29, 2009 in Wells County. Voyles said Mrs. White pulled a handgun on White as she tried to get immediate custody of their son from him.
"She became angry with him. He looked up and Amy was pointing a gun at him. Tyler, not having any other options, reached behind him, grabbed his gun, and fired two shots," said Voyles, according to the Bluffton newspaper.
On Thursday, Dr. Scott Wagner, the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Amy White’s body, presented his evidence. Two bullets entered Amy White on her left side, one at the bottom of the left breast and one at the upper abdomen, he said.
The pathologist said he could not determine which bullet entered the body first, or the range from which the bullets had been fired. He did, however, question Tyler White's story about how his wife died.
Also Thursday, several witnesses said Amy White endured a barrage of verbal abuse during her marriage.
Prosecutors then rested their case.
As the prosecution began its case, it was reported that two handguns were found at the scene of the shooting, the garage at the home of Tyler White's parents. One gun was the one White admits he used to shoot his wife and the other was a gun that belonged to Matt Reinhard, a friend of Tyler and Amy White.
The Reinhard gun had been reported as stolen in April of 2008. Reinhard testified that thought Tyler White had taken his gun, but had not considered the idea that Amy White might have taken it, said the News-Banner story.
Testimony indicated that a box in which Reinhard had kept the gun was found in Amy White's car and a hair was found in the box, with that hair perhaps being from Amy White.
Wells County Prosecutor Mike Lautzenheiser contends that Tyler White stole Reinhard's gun and put the box in his wife's car after the shooting to try to create self-defense as the reason for the shooting.
The News-Banner also stated, "Tyler White has been quoted as saying he did not immediately call 911 [after the shooting]. He said he saw Amy's cellphone next to her body and, feeling "miserable," threw it into the grass outside the garage and then shot it with his gun, effectively destroying it.
"The prosecution notes that the phone would have contained records of heated calls between Tyler and Amy White and contends this was a deliberate act by Tyler White to destroy evidence."
During the events in the garage, the couple's infant son was present.