JEFFERSONVILLE — The prosecution and the defense closed their arguments Tuesday in the Edward Dale Bagshaw murder trial.
Jeffersonville Police Department Detective Todd Hollis was the last witness called to testify by Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull.
Hollis spent much of the morning on the witness stand paging through a history of phone messages between Bagshaw and the estranged wife he has admitted to murdering, Kelly Bagshaw.
Mull and Bagshaw’s attorney Perry McCall asked Hollis to clarify the times messages were sent and to read many of the messages aloud. The reading of the messages, which date back weeks prior to Kelly Bagshaw’s death Nov. 13, 2011, left jurors with few doubts that the couple’s relationship was turbulent.
The theme of the text history can be characterized as Dale Bagshaw making multiple attempts to mend the broken relationship, and Kelly Bagshaw wanting only for him to be a father, not a husband. The message history showed the couple had also texted back and forth about who will eventually get custody of the 2- and 6-year-old children they shared. The messages also tell a story of the Bagshaws suspecting each other of having extramarital affairs.
Mull said by showing the text history to the jurors, it helps them understand the circumstances of the Bagshaws’ relationship leading up to the time of the murder.
“Those texts simply corroborated what we already knew,” Mull said. “Mr. Bagshaw and Mrs. Bagshaw had a relationship where he wanted her back, and she didn’t want to be with him.”
As Hollis read the text messages before the jurors, the messages chronologically led up to the day of Kelly Bagshaw’s death as she drove to Dale Bagshaw’s home in Lafayette Square Apartments on 10th Street in Jeffersonville.
According to testimonies, at 12:37 p.m. Kelly Bagshaw sent a text to Dale Bagshaw that she was on her way. She sent another text at 12:58 p.m. that she was pulling into the complex.
At 12:59 p.m. and at 1 p.m., two calls were made from Kelly Bagshaw’s phone to Dale Bagshaw.
At 1:01 p.m. and 1:02 p.m., calls were made from Dale Bagshaw to Kelly Bagshaw’s phone.
Previous testimony said that Bagshaw was attempting to get her to come up to his apartment to visit before she left with the children, who were in his apartment eating ice cream.
There are no additional calls on Dale Bagshaw’s phone until he placed one at 1:07 p.m. to his mother telling her that he had stabbed his wife.
From the phone records, it was determined that Bagshaw entered Kelly Bagshaw’s car and killed her between 1:02 p.m. and 1:07 p.m.
Although the timeline reveals that Bagshaw committed the murder in less than five minutes, Mull said there is little significance to the amount of time Bagshaw was in the vehicle.
McCall said the brevity of the situation is relevant, however.
He said the short time that the Bagshaws were in the vehicle together supports his argument that a brief argument resulted in Dale Bagshaw snapping in sudden heat before murdering his wife.
A focal point established early on in the defense’s case is that a call was made to Kelly Bagshaw’s cell phone while Dale Bagshaw was in the vehicle. McCall has said that there were suspicions that Kelly Bagshaw had become involved with another man, and Dale Bagshaw jealously grabbed Kelly Bagshaw’s ringing phone while in the vehicle, which instigated a physical dispute and the murderous act.
The phone records showed to the court that there was no call made to Kelly Bagshaw’s phone between 1:02 p.m. and 1:07 p.m.
McCall said the fact that no call was received, as Dale Bagshaw has told him and authorities, does not weaken the defense’s case.
McCall said the phone could have made a sound that was mistaken by Bagshaw as an incoming call. He added that a noise from the phone could have been any alert, possibly from a previously deleted call, text or voice message.
While Mull took nearly four days to present the prosecution, McCall called upon only two witnesses and offered his case in less than two hours. He called a former employee of Dale Bagshaw’s car lot business, who stated that she knew Bagshaw to be a man who put his family before his own needs.
He also called Dr. George Parker, a forensic psychologist at Indiana University School of Medicine, who is be a leading doctor in the field, according to his credentials. Parker was hired by the defense counsel to conduct a mental health evaluation of the defendant.
The nearly three-hour-long evaluation took place at the Michael L. Becher Adult Correctional Complex in March 2012.
Parker said though his comprehensive evaluation, he determined that Dale Bagshaw had a suffered a difficult childhood that included Child Protective Service splitting up his four siblings and placing him into a foster home where he was physically and verbally abused. He was later placed into the care of his grandparents where the abuse continued, Parker said. Finally, he was returned to the custody of his then-alcoholic mother where he was abused by a string of boyfriends and other relatives.
“The family, basically, was shattered, early on,” Parker said. “It shows he has a long history of trauma.”
Parker said the pattern continued into Dale Bagshaw’s adult life with dysfunctional relationships, including his three marriages.
Parker’s testimony supported the defense’s argument that Bagshaw does not remember what happened during Kelly Bagshaw’s death, saying he found reason to diagnose him with probable dissociative amnesia.
“There is this blackout in between what happened,” Parker said of Dale Bagshaw’s failure to recall the fatal incident.
During cross examination, Mull pushed Parker to recognize that Dale Bagshaw could be claiming that he doesn’t remember the incident out of self-preservation.
“That seems unlikely to me,” the doctor responded. “It troubles him that he can’t remember what happened. I am not sure it is possible for him to remember.”
After McCall closed his argument, presiding Judge Vicki Carmichael called the first of two mental health professionals, appointed by the state, to testify.
Dr. Heather Henderson-Galligan, a psychologist who practices in Jeffersonville and Louisville, countered Parker’s findings that Bagshaw is suffering from amnesia.
“Mr. Bagshaw’s cognitive and mental states are intact,” she said from the witness stand, adding that she believes, from her evaluation in December 2011, that Bagshaw can recall what transpired in the vehicle when Kelly Bagshaw was stabbed nearly 60 times to death.
The second court-appointed mental health professional was expected to testify Wednesday morning before closing arguments begin.
Mull said the differing mental health evaluations make little difference in this case.
“What the defense has to prove by preponderance of the evidence is that he was not responsible by reason of insanity,” Mull said. “None of the experts have said that. Even the [psychiatrist hired by the defense] says: I can’t say he was insane at the time.”
Mull gave some insight as to what the jury will face following the final deliberation.
“They will be given a option of [finding Bagshaw] not responsible by reason of insanity; and they will be given the option to convict of murder and guilty on murder, but mentally ill,” he said.
He added that a conviction of guilty of murder while mentally ill is essentially the equal to a murder conviction, but with mandates of additional treatment while in prison.
“If the jury finds that he is not responsible by reason of insanity then there are specific statutory provisions that come into effect that dictate, basically, him being committed to a mental institution,” Mull explained.
If Bagshaw is found to have acted out of sudden heat, he could be found guilty of a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.
“Whether or not [jurors] are instructed on manslaughter is still to be determined, although the judge did make the comment from the bench on that, that is not a given at this point,” Mull said.
The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday morning in Clark County Circuit Court No. 4.