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MAYNARDVILLE (WATE) – The jury has begun deliberating in the trial for former Knox County Schools security officer Kevin Waggoner, who is accused of murder.
Kevin Waggoner is on trial in Union County and accused of shooting his neighbor, Michael Woodby in 2013. Investigators say Waggoner shot Woodby four times.
The Waggoners and Woodbys, who lived across the street from each other, had been feuding for years. They recorded their encounters with each other from their yards.
The nearly 180 hours of footage was used as evidence in the trial.
Each side delivered closing arguments Monday. The state emphasized the most important piece of evidence missing was the recording from the night Woodby was killed. Prosecutors believe it was an ambush.
“They would have you believe he got a deck spindle and literally took a stick to a gun fight and not just one gun, but two. Does that sound reasonable, ladies and gentlemen?” asked Assistant District Attorney General Graham Wilson.
Wilson tried to convince the jurors Waggoner’s actions were something more than self defense. Waggoner testified last week that he and his son had gone for a walk when Michael Woodby came up behind them yelling and attacked Waggoner’s son. He says Woodby was intoxicated.
“As distasteful as the videotaping is, it’s no excuse to conduct yourself and to attack people,” said defense attorney Scott Lanzon.
Lanzon made the case to jurors that Woodby made several threats to Waggoner’s son Kolton, and that’s the reason Waggoner shot his neighbor.
“This is someone who told you, who told Kevin, that he was going to get that boy and on September 16, that’s exactly what he tried to do,” he said.
In his rebuttal, Graham mentioned to jurors that the most important piece of evidence in the case doesn’t exist, the recording from the night when Woodby was killed. He says something doesn’t add up because Waggoner seemed to record Woody’s every move.
“Kevin Waggoner says he took video to prove his innocence. None of the video was running that night to prove his innocence. You know why, ladies and gentlemen? Because he’s not innocent,” said Graham.
The jury went home just before 8:30 p.m. They will resume deliberations at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday.
Waggoner’s former neighbor testifies
Earlier in the day, defense attorneys brought in their final witness, a former FBI agent who’s been looking over the case. Then the state brought in two rebuttal witnesses who talked about their odd interactions with Waggoner.
Jeff Bigler used to live near Waggoner in Elkhart, Indiana. Their relationships as neighbors started out well, but then took an odd turn when Bigler asked about Waggoner’s gun.
“It wasn’t the answer I was expecting. He proceeded to tell me that he couldn’t wait to be able to shoot somebody with it and see how it felt, what kind of damage it did.” testified Bigler.
The state was hoping to use that piece of information to reveal what they consider to be Waggoner’s violent nature. Bigler’s and Waggoner’s children also didn’t get along. Bigler recalls Waggoner’s son throwing a basketball at his son while he was riding a bike. That’s when he went over to Waggoner’s home where Waggoner already had his gun drawn.
“I remember looking right at him when it happened, and he just had this cold look in his eye just staring at me and looked to the right and saw my wife and neighbors standing at the end of the driveway and he lowered the gun and that was it. That was it and I walked away. Thank goodness he didn’t shoot me,” said Bigler.
Jurors were not allowed to hear that piece of testimony. Instead, the state focused on Waggoner videotaping Bigler’s family.
“[It made me feel] uneasy. Wasn’t real sure why they wanted to videotape our kids. I didn’t like it. I didn’t think it was necessary at all,” he testified.
There were 180 hours of audio recordings in the Woodby murder case, including one where Waggoner talks about Woody’s potential death. The two families had been feuding for years.
Another neighbor from Indiana also took the stand, describing Waggoner and his family as videotaping his every move as well.
“If you had company or come out, you were on camera,” testified Larry Hummel.
“And where would they be when they would be videotaping?” asked the state.
“Anywhere, generally in their yard or on their front porch,” replied Hummel.