110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Jury doesn't buy story of accident
By Pat Andrews
posted Feb 14, 2013 - 10:42:48am
A man charged with the attempted murder of two law-enforcement officers told the jury Feb. 13 that the shootings were an accident.
The jury, however, found him guilty of one count of attempted first-degree murder of a law-enforcement officer using a firearm, and also guilty of a count of attempted second-degree murder of a law-enforcement officer using a firearm.
Saying the law gives her no discretion in sentencing, Judge Margaret Hudson sentenced Corey Reynolds of Deltona to life in prison on each count, with sentences to run concurrently. He will not be eligible for release.
Reynolds, now 29, was charged with the shootings after the Nov. 26, 2011, incident.
A 911 call brought deputies to the home of Reynolds' girlfriend in DeBary that day. She had told them Reynolds had pushed her to the ground and attempted to choke her, then fled, the Sheriff's Office said.
Deputies John Braman and John Brady then went to Reynolds' house in Deltona. As they tried to take Reynolds into custody, a struggle broke out.
At trial, there were two different account of how shots — six of them — came to be fired, injuring the two deputies. Braman and Brady were at the trial in DeLand.
On the witness stand Feb. 13, Reynolds said the shooting was the result of Deputy Braman tussling with him.
Braman took him to the ground, Reynolds said. A gun — for which Reynolds had a concealed weapons permit — fell out of his clothing, Reynolds said, and his hand came down on top of it. Braman squeezed Reynold's hand on the gun in a tight grip, causing it to fire, Reynolds said.
The gun fired five or six times, he said.
Braman took three bullets, to his right shoulder and his left arm, and a third shot that grazed his neck. Braman was airlifted to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach in serious condition; he recovered and returned to duty.
A bullet grazed the back of Brady's right shoulder. He was taken to Halifax Health, where he was treated and released.
Defense attorney Jane Park called Sheriff's Office Investigator Joseph Riley to the stand. Upon her questioning, Riley, who arrived after the shootings, testified that, at the scene, Reynolds said, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do it. He grabbed the gun and it just went off."
Assistant State Attorney Erin Kelton asked Reynolds if he knew, from his training for the permit, that he had to inform law-enforcement officers he was armed, any time he came into contact with them.
Reynolds replied he did not know that.
Kelton asked if Reynolds knew, "at some point you have to tell them you are armed?"
Reynolds responded that though he felt it was important, he couldn't do it.
"I felt like it would be interpreted as a threat … I couldn't think that fast, to speak."
In her closing argument, Kelton asked the jury to find verdicts of attempted first-degree murder of a law-enforcement officer with the weapon, a Smith and Wesson .45 caliber gun.
She summarized earlier testimony that Reynolds had been leaning against the door with one hand, and had the other hand in his pocket. Reynolds tried to fight the arrest by running, she said. That's when deputies took him down.
Once on the ground, he kept his hands concealed beneath him, she said, where deputies couldn't see them or the gun in his hand. Suddenly, there was "a large pop."
"The defendant shot at the two deputies," Kelton said.
When someone pulls out a firearm, points and then pulls the trigger, that person has the intent to kill, she said.
As Braman tried to pin down Reynold's wrist, "the defendant keeps pointing the gun at Braman's face … It can't be any more clear what his intent was," Kelton said.
Defense attorney Park said she was not calling the deputies liars, but, she asked, if after the fact, "if the deputies don't know exactly how they got shot, why wouldn't they fill in the details?"
They want to appear competent, and could want to look better after the fact, she said.
If Reynolds had a knife in his pocket that stabbed someone when he got thrown to the ground, "Would that be attempted murder?" Park asked.
"This was a horrible accident," she said.
The jury saw it differently. They rendered the attempted first-degree murder verdict for the shooting of Braman, and the attempted second-degree verdict for the shooting of Brady.
Upon hearing the verdict, Reynolds threw his head down on the defense table and sobbed. So did his mother, in the audience, and close friends, saying, "Oh my God, oh my God."
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