July 28, 2017, 9:21 pm
I think it's safe to say most people will never be called to testify in a murder trial in their lifetimes. It's just not that often, I think, that people are adjacent to murders.
Well, I just testified in my second murder trial. The first one I documented in my book, Deadly Vows, The True Story of a Zealous Preacher, a Polygamous Union and a Savage Murder.
The second just happened yesterday. Well, it happened earlier this year. Here's what happened:
On Feb. 11 of this year, I took my family out to play in the lakebed of Lake Eufaula in eastern Oklahoma, because to that point, the year had been really dry, and the lake was much lower than it normally is, exposing the bed and the shells of dead mollusks, which the kids love to crunch underfoot.
While they were engaged in that pursuit, I saw what appeared to be a toy pistol half-buried in the lake bed. I approached it, and as I picked it up, I immediately realized it was too heavy to be a toy. I looked in the cylinder and it appeared to be loaded. Now, there's no good reason a loaded pistol should be at the bottom of a lake, so I immediately called 911.
While I was on the phone with dispatch, a game warden happened by, checking out our vehicle. I waved him over and told the dispatcher I was going to give the gun to him.
Fast forward a week. The chief deputy in McIntosh County called me and asked if I could show him where I found the pistol. So I did; it was throwing distance from a small boat dock.
He told me the pistol had been used in a murder and he was hoping against hope to find it because it was a necessary piece of evidence tying his suspect to the murder. He knew the suspect had thrown the gun into the lake, but it's an enormous lake, so he had no idea where to even begin looking.
Earlier this month, I was subpoenaed to appear in court and help establish chain of custody on the gun. So I did. As I was leaving, the family whispered "thank you," and that made me happy. It was an expensive pistol, and the deputy said most people would have just kept it and cleaned it up, so apparently doing the right thing is rare these days.
Also, apparently, I attract murder cases.