News and Tribune

November 6, 2013

Daughter testifies in trial of her mother's murder

Corydon man claims self defense in shooting

By GARY POPP
gary.popp@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE — The daughter of a woman who was gunned down in Clarksville in February testified Wednesday that she was well-acquainted with the man on trial in her mother’s death.

The 15-year-old girl sat at the witness stand across from Ronald Wayne Shewmaker, 44, the man charged in the murder of her mother, Lisa McQuirt, but it was not the child’s first time being so close to the accused murderer.

She told the court that she had come in contact with Shewmaker several times in the months before the shooting, after he and McQuirt began seeing one another.

The relationship began after Shewmaker and McQuirt, 32, met at the Louisville strip club, Bottoms Up, where McQuirt worked as a dancer. Shewmaker has been portrayed as being in love with the woman 12 years his junior who he would provide with money and gifts, including a vehicle — but McQuirt had other plans.

According to statements made by those close to McQuirt, including her daughter, McQuirt strung along the Corydon man throughout the relationship to continue receiving money and presents while she had a husband and a boyfriend. The con ran so deep that when Shewmaker came to visit the family home, sometimes with gifts in tow for McQuirt’s five children, McQuirt would introduce her husband as her brother.

Her daughter, the eldest child, testified that she was instructed not to call her father “dad” when Shewmaker was at the home. The child also said that she was told not to make any mention of her mother’s boyfriend, Norman Wolfe, in Shewmaker’s presence.

Shewmaker was arrested in Corydon hours after he shot McQuirt twice outside of Wolfe’s home about 5 a.m. on Feb. 18, which was occupied by several adults and children.

Shewmaker’s attorneys, Bart Betteau and Brian Butler, claim McQuirt pulled a firearm first on their client, and he innocently acted in self defense. Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull has said the defense’s argument that McQuirt had brandished a gun “is not going to hold water” with the jury, adding that McQuirt was never seen with a firearm at the time of her death.

Her daughter testified that Shewmaker had come to the McQuirt family home on Kenwood Avenue weeks before the shooting and placed a “little black gun” under the blankets of her mother’s bed.

The girl also testified that while riding in a car with her mother, she had overheard Shewmaker threaten to hurt McQuirt — who did not want the gun kept at the house — and her family, if she did not return a firearm.

Less than three weeks before he shot and killed McQuirt, Shewmaker had filed a theft report for a Desert Eagle .44-caliber handgun with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department. Mull pointed out during the trial that anyone can contact law enforcement and report a stolen firearm, and that people will sometime report items stolen for “nefarious reasons.”

“I am not saying it was or wasn’t a legitimate theft. That is something the jury will have to figure out,” Mull said.

It is unclear if the handgun Shewmaker allegedly left in McQuirt’s bed is the same firearm he told authorities had been stolen from his vehicle parked at his place of employment, but the defense has insinuated that McQuirt stole the gun.

While McQuirt may have been in possession of the firearm left by Shewmaker at her home, and Shewmaker had filed a theft report for a handgun, Mull said that is not enough for the jury to determine she held a gun and provoked Shewmaker to fire at her.

“There has been absolutely no testimony, in fact, every witness who has testified said she [McQuirt] didn’t have a gun that night,” Mull said. “The fact that the defense is trying to place a gun in her hands weeks before [the shooting] to me is irrelevant to the issues of this case.”

After the shooting took place, Shewmaker returned to his Corydon home, where he was located about 7 a.m. by Harrison County Sheriff’s Department deputies, several of whom provided testimony Wednesday.

The deputies said Shewmaker was found with a 9 mm handgun in the pocket of a jacket he was wearing, and he was taken into custody without incident.

A bullet was in the chamber of the firearm and approximately nine more were in the weapon’s 15-capacity magazine, according to the deputy who secured the firearm.

Three 9 mm bullet shell casings were found in Shewmaker’s Ford Ranger pick up truck by investigators later in the day.

Mull will continue presenting the state’s case Thursday in Clark County Superior Court.