Jurors see photos of altercation, autopsy

Glenn Head, left, talks with his lawyer, Charlie James, outside the Randolph County Courthouse on Wednesday in Moberly, Mo. Head is on trial for second-degree murder in the Dec. 11, 2012 shooting death of Bill Bacon. (H-W Photo/Don O'Brien)
Posted: Apr. 9, 2014 9:32 pm Updated: Apr. 23, 2014 10:14 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

MOBERLY, Mo. -- The jury hearing the case of a former St. Louis police officer facing second-degree murder charges got to see pictures of what happened before a fatal shooting and also viewed autopsy photos during the third day of the trial on Wednesday.

As he has during the duration of the trial, Glenn Head, 60, of Novelty sat stoically as prosecutors continued to lay out their case for what happened before and after Head fatally shot Bill Bacon, 67, of Novelty, on Dec. 11, 2012. Head has been charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Dr. Eddie Adelstein, the chief medical examiner for Boone and Callaway counties, said Bacon died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen with extensive damage to his liver.

"He lost enough blood to put him in a shock-like state that would cause death," said Adelstein, who performed the autopsy on Bacon in Columbia a day after the shooting.

The jury of nine men and three women saw jarring images from Bacon's autopsy to start the afternoon session. The prosecution introduced more than two dozen photos from the autopsy. Members of Bacon's family left the crowded courtroom as the images were shown.

A bullet from a .38-caliber Smith and Wesson that Head used in the shooting hit Bacon just to the left of his sternum. Adelstein said the bullet, which opened a two-centimeter-by-two-centimeter wound, bounced off two of Bacon's ribs and lodged in the right side of Bacon's back. Adelstein was able to retrieve the bullet during the autopsy.

The prosecution also showed photos of a bullet that grazed Bacon's left leg. Adelstein said the wound to Bacon's leg wouldn't have killed Bacon.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Amanda Sapp, an investigator with the state's Division of Drug and Crime Control, then showed photos that were taken by Bacon on a disposable camera just before his encounter with Head. The last two photos in the roll showed Head moving toward Bacon just after Head had exited a tractor he had been using to fertilize a field. The last photo showed what appeared to be Head's hand over the camera lens.

Sapp said the camera was one of two things that were recovered at the site of the shooting. Also found was a micro cassette recorder. Sapp said no tape was found inside the recorder. She said investigators searched the area twice in attempt to find a cassette tape, but didn't find any.

Sapp was one of four law enforcement officers to respond to the shooting. She was the one who took control of the investigation and ordered that Head be arrested.

"(Head) asked me, ‘What did (Bacon) hit me with?' " Sapp said.

Sapp said she inspected Head for injuries after the incident. She said she couldn't feel or see any injuries on his head.

Head's attorney, Charlie James, questioned Sapp's handling of the case. He asked her if she had considered that Head was acting in self defense when the shooting occurred. He also questioned why she interviewed hunters who were hunting land that Bacon owned when an altercation took place Nov. 10, 2012, but didn't interview people who were hunting land owned by Head and Don Roper, who also were hunting that weekend.

Wednesday started with retired Knox County Sheriff Mike Kite taking the stand. Kite was the first officer to respond to the scene. He immediately tended to an ailing Bacon when he arrived nearly 25 minutes after the shooting.

"(Bacon) told me, ‘I can't breathe,' " Kite said. "I pulled his shirt up and could see where a bullet could have entered."

Kite said Bacon wasn't stable enough to be taken to the hospital by helicopter.

"He was kind of pale and was laboring to breathe," Kite said. "He said, ‘I can't breathe.' I told him to relax and told him other comforting words. He was kind of losing it a little bit, but he was still conscious when they put him in the ambulance."

Bacon died about 90 minutes after the shooting. He was declared dead at 4:56 p.m. in the emergency room of the Kirksville Regional Medical Center.

Kite was pressed by James about how he handled the land dispute between Bacon, Head and Head's friend, Roper. Bacon called Kite eight times over a 17-day period to talk about the dispute over a stretch of road near Bacon's property.

"Would you say that he was obsessed about the road?" James asked Kite.

"Yes," Kite said.

Kite was near the end of his tenure when the land dispute was reaching its boiling point in November.

"I told (Head and Roper) to stay away from (Bacon) until I was out of office," Kite said. "I said that in a joking manner."

The prosecution, which is being led by Knox County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jo Fortney and Assistant Attorney General Tim Anderson, is expected to wrap up its case on Thursday.

It is not known whether or not Head will take the stand in his own defense. The trial is scheduled to be finished on Friday.