UPDATE: Witness: Victim said 'my heart', died
By Gordon Boyd
Eyewitness News Reporter
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Amanda Freeman figures it's better to show, rather than tell Hamilton County Criminal Sessions Court, how her friend Myles Compton died at the hands of Myles Stout, 20, the man charged with his murder.
So she holds up her right hand and points her thumb and forefinger at the prosecuting attorney.
"He (Stout) literally had his hand like this and pushed in," she testifies.
"What did Mr. Compton do", she's asked.
"He was backing away. He was laughing, (but) it was a nervous laugh," replies Freeman.
Freeman, Stout, Compton, and Kevin West were among those who gathered at the Mountain Shadows home of Kevin Driscoll March 9.
Driscoll has told police that the gun used was a 40-caliber semi-automatic pistol of his father's, that he and Stout planned to take target-shooting the next day.
Freeman testifies that Stout first point the pistol at her, then at Driscoll and West, before settling on Compton. She's not sure whether she saw the gun fire, but remembers seeing a flash of light, hearing a loud noise, and then, Stout's voice.
"He (Stout) just said," I'm done," she says.
Earlier, West would testify to what would be Compton's final words.
"He just grabbed his heart, and said, 'my heart,' West says.
Compton would die in West's arms.
And, West testifies, Stout would yell what police say would be his first alibi: "tell them I didn't shoot him, he shot himself."
Compton's father draws only one conclusion.
"It's obvious from the statements that he (Stout) reloaded an unloaded gun," Jesse Compton says.
West and Driscoll testify that they had removed the pistol's magazine and checked its chamber.
"(Driscoll) took everything out, to make sure it was completely safe," Freeman testifies. "You could tell he was nervous about it."
Driscoll tells prosecutors that Stout was standing at point-blank range when he heard the gun fire.
He admits tossing the rest of the ammunition into nearby woods after the shooting.
Compton's father calls that a friend covering for a friend.
"Kevin Driscoll and Myles Stout were close enough that Myles Stout had enough influence over Kevin Driscoll to have him do that," Jesse Compton says.
Driscoll's testimony is enough for General Sessions Judge David Bales to drop charges of evidence tampering and filing a false report.
But Stout's attorney gets nowhere on his motion to dismiss the more serious charges.
"Murder is a 'knowing killing,' attorney Hank Hill argues."Knowing killing is not an accidental killing. It could be a reckless killing."
Judge Bales counters that a grand jury is best able to determine probable cause for intent. The grand jury will consider charges of second-degree murder, reckless homicide and reckless endangerment.
Compton's father tells Eyewitness News he's heard all he needs, to know Stout is a murderer.
"When a person takes a gun, and loads an unloaded gun and then points it at a person, I don't know what the intention of the person is," Jesse Compton says. "But we know the result of the intention."
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – A preliminary hearing is underway for a man accused of accidentally shooting his friend.
Myles Stout is accused of shooting his 18-year-old friend Myles Compton in the chest.
According to a police report, Stout originally said his friend shot himself.
Eyewitnesses said Stout was the one who fired the fatal shot.
He later admitted to horse-play that got out of hand.
Stout faces charges of murder in the second degree, reckless homicide, and endangerment.
Earlier in the hearing, Judge Bales dismissed charges of filing a false police report and tampering with evidence.
Read a up-to-the-minute account of testimony from the today's hearing:
- Judge Bales; these are questions for grand jury. Probable cause has been met for bound over on murder 2, reckless homicide, and endangerment.
- Hill: murder 2 requires a knowing killing. This might be a reckless killing. But this cocked weapon had a hair trigger.
- Hill: There's no 'victim' circuit reckless endangerment charge. Mr. West and Driscoll never said they felt endangered.
- Filing false report also dismissed, changing story does not meet standard.
- Judge dismisses charges of tampering with evidence in light of Driscoll's testimony.
- Freeman: West & Stout wrestling earlier.
- Freeman: there'd been some wrestling earlier, boys being boys. Hill: nobody's mad right? No sir."
- Freeman: Stout had kind of a nervous laugh beforehand.
- Afterward, heard Stout say "I'm done."
- Freeman shows attorney how Stout pointed gun at Compton's chest. (he had pointed it at me earlier)
- Freeman: Driscoll took out the magazine to make sure it was "completely safe." I remember Driscoll saying don't point guns at anyone.
- Amanda Freeman: Stout/Driscoll talking about going shooting next day
- West: did not hear any noises that Stout intended to shoot Compton. No gun noise before shot.
- West: nobody was mad at one another.
- I called 911. Came back in house. Heard Driscoll tell Stout to drop gun. I told Stout to drop gun. That's when gun went off again.
- Myles looked at me, said "my heart" collapsed. Stout ran out, said "tell them Myles shot himself."
- West: took magazine out, handed it to Driscoll. Pulled slide, round popped put to clear it. I was facing others when gun went off.
- West: 2 guns, black and silver. At first, I was only one handling gun.
- Kevin West. Compton's best friend. Hanging out at Driscoll's house with both Myles and 2 other friends.
- Prior to, heard slide going forward, did nor know Stout has weapon.
- Says Stout was to "secure" the gun after magazine removed. Pulled trigger, it fired.
- Driscoll: I've fired it 1000 times. Hill; it's a hair-trigger. Lot less to fire it with the hammer back.
- Stout attorney Hill has weapon, questions Driscoll on it's operation
- Driscoll: did Stout seem upset? Yes sir.
- Did not see second shot fired, Stout was the only one with gun.
- Driscoll: heard a second shot.
- Driscoll: bullets were "tossed."
- Driscoll: before police got there, I unloaded the gun. Don't remember what happened to magazine.
- Driscoll: I saw Myles Compton collapse. Said Stout said "I'm done."
- Driscoll: Stout pointed gun at Compton. Compton said didn't like guns.
- Driscoll: gun was unloaded. Chamber open. Saw magazine on table.
- Driscoll: didn't know whether Stout had any experience firing the weapon.
- Driscoll: Me and Myles Stout were gonna go shoot it in the morning.
- Witness Kevin Driscoll: in bedroom when shooting occurred. Gun on table; 40 cal semiautomatic pistol.
- Stout enters courtroom; red jumpsuit. Witnesses include Kevin West, Compton's friend who reportedly witnessed shooting.
- Preliminary hearing for Myles Stout, accused of second degree murder in what he first claimed was the accidental shooting of Myles Compton.
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