Testimony in the murder trial of a former Bastrop County Deputy wrapped up Tuesday with a twist. The investigators, who brought about the charges against Daniel Willis, essentially were put on trial.
What Daniel Willis knew, and didn’t know, when he fired the shot that took the life of Yvette smith was the focus of Tuesday’s testimony.
Tim Ryle, an expert on police tactics, spent the morning answering questions from prosecutor Forrest Sanderson. He was asked about hypothetical situations that defense attorney Robert McCabe argued were not appropriate.
"I think the hypotheticals were misleading, and i think it is especially misleading when you find out that everything that went into Daniel Willis’s thinking is based on what we call the totality of the circumstances, all of Daniel Willis' feelings all of Daniel Willis' experiences fed into his decision to shoot Yvette smith," said McCabe.
Smith was at a home, north of Bastrop last year, where Deputy Willis was sent. It was his second trip there in less than 24 hours, both calls involved allegations of domestic violence.
Shortly after arriving dispatchers warned Willis that a fight was underway over a loaded gun and later a gunman was behind the front door.
What Willis didn’t know was that smith had secured the gun. When she came out the front door Willis, according to Ryle’s analysis, interpreted her movements as a threat.
"It's reasonable, and that's where justification comes in, when you look at these kinds of cases and you place yourself in the position of an officer having to make that spot second decision, under those circumstances, given everything they knew, that is the determination of what's reasonable. Would another officer have acted reasonably the same and the answer is yes," said Ryle who also described the case as "tragic" for everyone involved.
Testimony ended with prosecutors recalling investigators to defend the work they did which led to Willis' murder indictment. Defense attorneys claim proper procedures were not followed when witness statements were collected and guns found in the house were never fingerprinted. Prosecutors argued the only mistake that made was Willis and it cost the life of Yvette Smith.
Closing arguments will begin Wednesday morning.