A 49-year-old man, Richard S. Whitman faces a murder charge and is currently on trial after he shot David G. Eadie dead last November. Members of the jury have been entrusted with the task of deciding if Richard S. Whitman was acting in self-defense when he shot his victim in Canton. The Stark County Common Pleas Court jury will be conducting deliberations on Thursday morning.
Whitman is charged with murder and the possession of weapons despite his disability. If indicted, he will be sentenced to life imprisonment. Stark County Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Vance accused the 49-year-old of igniting the dispute which catalyzed the consequent tragedy.
Last year, Whitman moved from Florida to Stark County where his sister, Janeann Whitman lived along with the defendant’s niece and her two kids. According to the testimony, Whitman had a disagreement with his niece over how the two young ones had scattered all their toys in the living room. Janeann then called over her ex-boyfriend Eadie to talk to Whitman after which the heat of the moment subsided.
Later on, Whitman affirmed that Eadie hit him in the head and pushed his knee against the defendant’s chest, making it hard to breathe for him. Whitman also testified that Eadie caught hold of a machete in the bedroom and threatened to stab his eye with a metal rod.
Janeann testified that she tried to get Eadie off her brother after which, Whitman admittedly loaded a 9mm pistol that belonged to his sister and fired three fatal rounds on Eadie.
The prosecutor remarked that the evidence is not coherent with Whitman’s claims of Eadie attacking him. There was no trace of Eadie’s blood on Whitman’s bed and his body was outside the bedroom.
To Richard Whitman’s unaccounted fears regarding Eadie’s intentions to harm him, Vance pointed out that Eadie was unarmed and posed no existential threat to the defendant.
The assistant prosecutor also noticed that Whitman’s testimony differed significantly from what he revealed in his initial interrogation on November 29. According to Vance, Richard had sufficient time to concoct an alternative version of the story while being imprisoned for five months.
Whitman explained that there was “a lot to process” during the interrogation and “It takes people time to remember details,” However, he did admit that the police gave him six hours to stabilize and answer the questions then.
On the other hand, Barry Wakser, an attorney with the Stark County Public Defender’s Office, said that the police did not document Whitman’s head injuries via photographs. He further stated that defendant had “no intention or desire” to kill Eadie and only thwarted “what he felt was a threat”.
According to the defense, Eadie grabbed the rifle along with Whitman’s phone which is why the defendant was unable to call the police and nor did he pursue Eadie outside the bedroom. Wakser also cited another unrelated incident in which Eadie had fired gunshots in defense of Whitman’s argument of self-defense.