The murder trial of Ira Beumer, an Evansville businessman, could be in the hands of the jury tomorrow evening but today brought important and compelling testimony.
The second day of Beumer's trial began with the cross-examination of Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Corn. At the end of the first day of the trial, Corn told the court that Beumer had stated, "I rammed them. I was trying to kill them." The defense questioned Corn as to whether he had ever been involved in a high-speed pursuit, perhaps alluding to the defense's argument that Beumer was justified in his use of force because it was a 'citizen's arrest.' The State then called Indiana State Police Sergeant Andrew Clark to the stand. Considered as an expert in the field of crash data retrieval, Sgt. Clark told the court that many newer model vehicles come equipped with an onboard computer that tracks speed, steering wheel orientation and other data whenever the airbags are deployed.
Clark testified that the Dodge Ram truck that Beumer had chased the four suspects with came equipped with a computer that could track up to five seconds before the crash or whenever the airbags are deployed. The computer is equivalent to that of a 'black box' found on an airplane. Beumer had gotten into the truck to chase down the four men who robbed him at gunpoint in the early morning hours of February 19th, 2012, according to court testimony.
According to the data he retrieved, Clark believed Beumer was traveling 69 miles-per-hour at the time of impact. The suspect's vehicle was traveling 23 miles-per-hour, according to Clark's testimony. Clark's analysis determined that Beumer had the accelerator fully engaged at the time of the crash, according to his testimony. Furthermore, Clark testified that the data showed Beumer had not made an attempt to avoid the crash. Using Newton's Laws of Motion to determine the momentum each vehicle had, Clark testified that the suspects vehicle traveled 48 miles-per-hour at the moment of impact when it had only been traveling 23-miles-per-hour before impact.
According to diagrams of the crash, the suspect's vehicle had briefly left the roadway and was attempting to re-enter the roadway when the crash occurred.
On cross-examination, David Lamont, the attorney representing Beumer, said Clark's measurements do not show or prove what Beumer saw before the crash.
The State then called a forensic pathologist to the stand. The pathologist testified that Antuan Jenkins' was likely killed on impact as a result of the crash. Furthermore, the pathologist said these injuries were consistent with a serious car accident.
The State's fifth witness was Eyewitness News Reporter Tabnie Dozier who interviewed Ira Beumer 12 hours after the incident. As part of her testimony, the State played the raw interview for the men and women of the jury.
The State's sixth witness was Denise Gallant, a 911 dispatcher at the time of the February 2012 incident. The State then played Beumer's 911 call that he made immediately after the crash. According to that call, Beumer said 'I chased them down and wrecked them... I caught them. I wrecked them. I hope they're all dead." Beumer also stated that the suspects had threatened his life and his wife's life. Later in the morning, the State played a video of the interview that detectives had conducted with Beumer after the incident. In that interview, Beumer denied intentionally ramming the suspect's vehicle.
The last witness the State called before resting its case was Hope Stephenson, the medical record director from Deaconnes Health South. Her testimony proved vital for the state, prosecutors said. With her testimony, the State was allowed to enter in the medical records of Jeton Hall as evidence. Because Hall has refused to testify at Beumer's trial, the State needed these medical records to prove Hall's injuries as a result of the accident. This proof is needed in order to pursue an attempted murder charge and battery causing bodily injury charge, prosecutors said.
After the lunch break, the State rested it's case. The defense called upon three character witnesses.
The first witness the defense called was Maria Beumer, Ira's wife. The defense played the frantic and emotional 911 calls and voicemails from the night of the incident. In the 911 call, Maria Beumer stated that she could hear the accident which took place about a half-mile from their house on Big Cynthiana Road.
"He wrecked them," Maria Beumer stated in the 911 call. "He wrecked them in my truck."
After both working at Icon Nightclub earlier in the night, Ira and Maria drove separately. Ira went to take one of his employees home after the club closed at two in the morning, according to court testimony. Meanwhile, Maria went to go pick up the Beumer's daughter from her godparent's house. Maria did not pick up their daughter from the house because she was sleeping, according to testimony. While on the way back home, Maria called Ira. When Ira got home, he threw his phone aside when he saw the suspects wearing ski-masks and dark-colored hoodies, according to court testimony. Maria knew something wasn't right, she said, so she called their land line and left a message. After that, Maria testified that she then call 911.
The two additional witnesses the defense called both spoke highly of Ira Beumer's integrity and reputation.
"He was a very good and supportive neighbor," said Joe Sweeney, a neighbor. "He was honest and truthful."
The trial will continue Wednesday morning as the defense still has a handful of witnesses to call to the stand. We'll keep you updated.