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January 10, 2013

Jeffersonville murder trial to hinge on mental state, 'heat' arguments

Defense to seek insanity, act of rage relief

JEFFERSONVILLE — Throughout the third day of the Edward Dale Bagshaw murder trial, Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull steered the prosecution by continuing to call witnesses to the testify before the 14 jurors.

As Bagshaw has confessed to the murder, the case is left teetering on whether his attorney, Perry McCall, of Jeffersonville, can convince the court that his client acted out of sudden heat, which could reduce the murder charge to voluntary manslaughter, or that he was mentally unfit during the stabbing, or both.

Early in the day, a medical examiner testified that the number of stab wounds found on Kelly Bagshaw’s body was closer to 60 rather than the 43 previously reported.

McCall said the increased number of wounds is consistent with his belief that Bagshaw went into a rage when he killed his wife and that the crime meets the criteria of acting out of sudden heat.

“To me, and I know the state disagrees with this, but to me that it is an indicator of a passionate crime,” McCall said. “And, you have to factor in, too, the time period involved here. We are not talking about a long period of time, we are talking about something that exploded like that, when these wounds were inflicted.”

McCall is making the case that a heated argument, involving a cell phone, between the two took place in the vehicle, and that it is untrue his client opened the door of the vehicle and began attacking Kelly Bagshaw with no provocation.

During the attack, Kelly Bagshaw was sitting in the driver’s seat and Dale Bagshaw had entered the car and sat in the passenger seat.

McCall said the left side of Kelly Bagshaw’s body was significantly injured during the incident, and that those wounds reveal that a heated fight had taken place.

“You would naturally turn away from your attacker, not toward them,” he said. “We believe it [the number of wounds found on Kelly Bagshaw] is consistent with the heat, the argument that occurred, the struggle over the phone and that is why there is the number of injuries. And, once it started, based on [Dale Bagshaw’s] state of mind, he just didn’t stop.”  

Mull said the testimony from the medical examiner concerning the increased number of stab wounds inflicted by Bagshaw does not change the prosecution’s case.

“We have known from the beginning that she was stabbed repeatedly. She had multiple blunt-force trauma wounds to her,” Mull said. “It doesn’t change the case at all. This is a murder case, and he murdered her in the car by stabbing her several times, and so nothing is different about that at all.”

Mull dismissed the idea that a person must be mentally unfit to commit the heinous act of stabbing another person nearly 60 times.

“That is just not a fact,” he said. “Any time you see a murder where there has been a large number of wounds inflicted on somebody, sometimes there is the natural inclination that there must have been something wrong with that person, but unfortunately that is not the case.”

He said evidence shows that Dale Bagshaw was mentally stable during the act, and the charge of murder is appropriate. To show sudden heat, Mull said, the defense must lead the court to believe that Dale Bagshaw was provoked to the point that he could not control himself.

“That didn’t happen in this case,” he said. “This lady was sitting in her car, trying to pick up her children and [Dale Bagshaw] wouldn’t deliver them down to her and [he] went down there and murdered her. There is no provocation. There is no sudden heat. There is no manslaughter in this case.”

McCall said that a person can be found to have acted out of sudden heat while also mentally unfit.

“We do have an obligation to pursue the defenses that we have available,” McCall said, adding that he will introduce to the court a mental health professional who conducted an evaluation of Dale Bagshaw and found that he was mental ill at the time of the incident.

Mull said during his opening remarks that two mental health evaluations conducted by separate professionals found Dale Bagshaw to be mentally sound during the incident.

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