A judge is being asked to decide whether a man charged with murder after striking his brother with a stick acted in self-defense.
A medical expert testifying for Richard William Gable was the last of more than a dozen witnesses who testified over the course of four days in Gable’s immunity hearing in Hall County Superior Court.
Gable’s public defenders believe he is immune from prosecution, contending the 26-year-old North Hall man acted in self-defense when he swung a slender cherry wood branch that connected with the back or neck of his half-brother, Steven Paul Brookshire.
Brookshire, 36, died about 36 hours after the incident at Grady Memorial Hospital. An autopsy by a medical examiner contracted by Hall County concluded the manner of death was homicide, with the cause being blunt force trauma to the head and neck.
Witnesses said the two men were quarreling prior to a fight in front of a trailer at 4426 Ledan Extension.
During testimony Thursday, Hall County Sheriff’s Crime Scene Investigator Cameron Durham brought out the stick, which prosecutors contend is a murder weapon.
Public defender Anne Watson sought to show that the stick was lighter than more substantial woods, such as hickory used for ax handles or ash wood used in baseball bats.
Emily Ward, a forensic pathologist from Huntsville, Ala., testified that a spontaneous hemorrhage causing death could have occurred from drug use, or that Brookshire could have had a clotting problem as the result of liver disease.
Though the hearing resembled a mini-trial, neither side presented closing arguments to the judge. They will summarize their positions in written briefs, which are due April. 5. Hall County Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin will rule on the motion at a later date.
The defense also has asked for a gag order and change of venue in the case, should it go forward to a jury trial.