Murder defendant fired in self-defense in south Wichita confrontation, says attorney

04/23/2013 6:10 PM

08/08/2014 10:16 AM

A Wichita man standing trial for second-degree murder fired his gun in self-defense after the victim threatened him with what appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun, a defense lawyer told a Sedgwick County jury Tuesday.

Dustin Cheever shot Robert Gammon during a confrontation in south Wichita on May 19, 2012, without realizing that Gammon was carrying a gun that fired only BBs, Steve Mank told the jury.

Mank said that Cheever suspected that Gammon’s son had stolen a minibike from him, and he said Cheever went with a friend to Gammon’s home on the night of the shooting to see if the minibike was in the backyard. The shooting occurred after the men were confronted by Gammon and his son.

The first witness was Officer Chris Welch, who said he was one of the first officers at the scene and didn’t notice the BB gun until after Gammon had been taken from the scene in an ambulance.

“It appeared to you to be a real pistol?” Mank asked.

“Yes,” Welsh replied.

“It was black?”

“Yes.”

“Metal?”

“Yes, it was.”

“Appeared to be a semi-automatic pistol?”

“Yes.”

“And it was only later that it was determined to be a BB gun?”

“That’s correct.”

Prosecutor Justen Phelps questioned the self-defense claim. He told the jury that a friend of Cheever’s threw the .40-caliber handgun used in the shooting into the Arkansas River. The gun was never recovered, he said.

The trial is being held in the courtroom of District Judge Joseph Bribiesca.

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