By Jeff Noble/Staff Writer
The second day of the Lisa Gilliam murder trial saw a dozen witnesses for the prosecution examined and cross-examined by attorneys on both sides by late afternoon.
The grilling of some witnesses by Gilliam’s defense team got quite intense. That, and the jury listening to two police tapes played by the defense, made for a riveting Tuesday in London.
Lisa Gilliam is charged with the death of attorney Larry Gilliam — her husband of 44 days — in his law office in London just before 2 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 7, 2011.
One of the witnesses in Laurel Circuit Court was Detective Allen Harris of the London Police Department, who was at the scene of the shooting on Jan. 7, 2011, when Lisa Gilliam’s husband, attorney Larry Gilliam, was shot and killed.
Harris told Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele he ran out to get his camera to take pictures of Larry Gilliam’s law office, where the shooting occurred. Harris said to Steele he spoke with Detectives Don Wilson and Tommy Johnson, instructing them to process the crime scene.
When asked if he talked to Lisa Gilliam at the scene, Harris told Steele, “I did not talk to Lisa. Not at all.”
Harris noted to Steele that after the weapon was found and thought there were some inconsistencies, he left the scene.
“When I arrived at the police department, I saw her. Detective Phelps and I began questioning her. … Initially, the interview was not recorded. Her first explanation was she was in the back when the gun was fired. Later, when she said she was in the front sitting when he came up and shot himself, we recorded it.”
Harris noted to Steele the statements from Gilliam that he and Sgt. Matt Moore had taken had conflicted, and that he interviewed her three times, on Jan. 7, 14, and 17 of 2011.
“There were several inconsistencies on where the gun was located, where she was and where Larry was.”
When cross-examined by defense attorney Scott Foster, Foster told Harris, “You said she told inconsistencies. Let’s tell the jury. Let’s set the stage. … This is a murder trial.”
Foster played an hour-long tape of Harris, Phelps and Lisa Gilliam taken from the police interview on the afternoon of her husband’s shooting.
“Did you touch the weapon?” he asked Gilliam.
“I don’t remember. … I just remember the blood. … I remember him falling. … I remember blood on his back,” Gilliam replied back.
“You described the gun going off,” said Harris.
“I would not do that to him,” said Gilliam.
In the tape, Harris said to Gilliam, “Lisa — there was two shots fired today, or there was one shot fired.” Later, Gilliam told the officer, “He shot himself.”
Throughout the playing of the tape, Gilliam was heard saying hysterically in the interview to the officers, “I did not do this,” “There’s no way that gun got into my desk,” “I don’t know if had touched the weapon,” and “I don’t know what to do.” Towards the end of the tape, Harris wanted to read Gilliam her Miranda Rights and get a statement from her. It took several minutes to do so. On the tape, the time was 5:07 p.m. when she she began writing the statements, adding she saw blood on her husband’s back, and called 911.
The tape was paused. After the attorneys approached the bench to speak with Special Judge Robert McGinnis for 10 minutes, the defense resumed the tape.
The tape ended with someone in the police station saying to Lisa Gilliam, “Larry’s passed away.”
Foster continued his questioning of Harris.
“Never a single time, she never said, ‘I shot him,’” Foster told him.
“Correct,” replied Harris.
“She consistently said there was only one shot.”
Later, Foster asked Harris, “He had to have been shot right by the closet.”
“She never once said, ‘I never saw him shoot himself.’”
Harris nodded yes.
He later told Foster, “The next day, they started moving furniture out (of the law offices).”
Foster asked Harris, “Did Lisa do that?”
“I don’t know who did,” was the reply.
“You promised Lisa there were two shots fired?” Foster asked. “I did,” said Harris.
“That wasn’t true,” Foster replied.
“At the time I did,” said Harris.
Earlier in the day, London Police Officer Shannon Morgan was examined by Steele. Morgan, a prosecution witness, was one of the first at the shooting scene, and told Steele that Larry Gilliam was lying on the floor in the front office, with his wife kneeling down.
Morgan said he didn’t find the gun. “I asked Larry where the gun was, but he did not respond. … When other officers asked her where the firearm was, she did not know. … When we came in, he was lying on his back, head towards the wall, feet towards his desk. She stated (to me and other officers) that he came in and shot himself.”
In the cross-examination, defense attorney Robert Norfleet asked Morgan, “When you went in, you had a mic (body mic) on?”
“That’s correct,” was Morgan’s answer.
“And it recorded at the scene?”
Norfleet said, “I’m going to play that.”
Sirens were heard on the beginning of the tape, as Morgan was going to the scene. The name “Larry Gilliam” was also heard, and an hysterical female voice crying out “Oh, God!” “Oh, God!” “Help me!”
It was Lisa Gilliam’s voice.
“Where’s the gun, Ma’am?” replied an officer.
“I don’t know!” Gilliam answered back.
The tape lasted for about seven minutes. After it ended, Norfleet asked Morgan, “Larry did not move his arm toward Lisa?”
“No,” was Morgan’s answer.
“What did she say to you?”
“He came in here and shot himself.”
“That was in the front office?”
Moments later, Norfleet asked Morgan, “Within four minutes of the recording, she said, ‘He shot himself in the front office.’”
“Yes,” said Morgan.
Other witnesses who were called to the stand on day two included Sgt. Moore of the London Police Department, Matt Cross, a forensic specialist with the Kentucky State Police; Kathleen Holznagel, a forensic biologist with the State Police; London Police Officers Daniel Robinson and Bryon Lawson; Sgt. Don Wilson of the State Police, Sgt. Greg Reams of the State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, and Jessica Copeland, a forensic specialist in Ashland.
Day three of the trial is set for today (Wednesday) at 9 a.m., with expert testimony from the defense scheduled to begin.