Eighteen months ago 21-year-old Jamie D. Guill was shot in the head with a shotgun and left in a ditch alongside County Road 4110 just outside of Rolla.
Eighteen months ago 21-year-old Jamie D. Guill was shot in the head with a shotgun and left in a ditch alongside County Road 4110 just outside of Rolla. On Monday, the trial of the man accused of killing him will begin. Guill's step-father, James D. Loughridge is defending himself against three felony charges — second degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful use of a loaded weapon by an intoxicated person — in relation to Guill's death. Guill, Loughridge and Corey Archer had spent the evening leading up to Guill's death drinking together at a bar in Rolla, according to previous testimony by Archer — who says he also witnessed Guill's last moments of life. According to Archer 's testimony at Loughridge's preliminary hearing more than one year ago, the trio of intoxicated men were traveling from the bar to Loughridge's home when Archer became ill and asked Loughridge to stop the truck so he could vomit. Prosecutors and police believe Loughridge then grabbed the gun, placed it on Archer’s chest, and moved it toward Guill's head before pulling the trigger. While prosecutor's will spend next week telling jurors this was a murder, Loughridge's attorneys said in court Wednesday they intend to paint it as a horrible accident. Attorneys for both sides were in a Maries County courtroom Wednesday arguing what items would be heard by the jury tasked with deciding Loughridge's guilt or innocence. The jury will not be privy to the entirety of the interview between Loughridge and a Phelps County Sheriff's Department Detective. 25th Judicial Ciruit Court Judge Tracy Storie chose to throw out approximately three hours and forty minutes of the four-hour interview that took place immediately after officers were called to the scene of Guill's death. Approximately 20 minutes into the interview, PCSD Det. Amy Hawkins left the room to get Loughridge a cup of coffee. While the detective stepped out of the room, Loughridge began making phone calls on his cell phone, calls his attorneys say were to his family in an attempt to get legal council. Storie chose to only allow the jury to see the video up until Det. Hawkins left the room because he believes Loughridge was attempting to invoke his right to an attorney. Phelps County Prosecutor John Beger did convince Storie to allow the jurors to see that first 20 minutes of video, which the defense tried to have thrown out for multiple reasons, including Loughridge's level of intoxication. Everyone in the courtroom agreed that Loughridge appeared intoxicated in the interview. "This is a layman's issue," Storie said. "It doesn't require expert testimony. The defendant was under the influence of alcohol during the interview." Horsefield and Loughridge's second attorney, Kristopher Crews, told the judge they were worried the jury would assume Loughridge was equally as intoxicated at the time Guill was shot. Crews said that may not be the case. No one knows Loughridge's blood alcohol content at the time of the shooting, but they do know he returned to his home and continued drinking before being taken to PCSD to talk to investigators. Beger successfully argued that the contents of the video interview have more value than any prejudicial harm it may cause. "What I think comes through in the video that would not come across in a transcript is the lack of remorse the defendant shows for this young man's death," Beger said. The defense is planning to argue that the apparent lack of remorse stems from post traumatic stress disorder the defendant developed after serving the United States military in Vietnam. The jury will be from Maries County — selection is scheduled to begin Monday morning. Depending on how long the selection process takes, attorneys may also deliver opening arguments Monday. The trial is scheduled to take one week to complete.