Testimony Ends in Woodward Trial

This is a projected image of the crime scene, officer Houts' patrol car is to the right.
This is a projected image of the crime scene, officer Houts' patrol car is to the right.

Posted by John Shryock - bio | email

Reporter: Eileen Jones - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Testimony ended Friday in the case of Mario Woodward who is accused of killing a Montgomery police officer two years ago.

Before the defense and prosecution rested, jurors watched a key piece of evidence - graphic videotape footage of the shooting of police officer Keith Houts.

The video was taken from the dashboard camera of officer Houts' patrol car, which was recording a routine traffic stop on September 28, 2006, the day Houts was shot.

Family members didn't stay in the courtroom when the evidence was shown, and television news cameras were not allowed to record the proceedings.

The video shows the young police officer walking up to a Chevrolet automobile and as soon as he arrived at the driver's door a gun appears and shoots him.

Officer Houts fell to the ground, and the person inside fired at him four more times while he was on the ground.

An expert witness testified that the person never even put the car in park, but had his foot on the brakes the whole time to take off quickly.

As gruesome as the evidence was, defense attorneys say it still doesn't prove Woodward pulled the trigger.

"One thing that video does not show very clearly is who did it, and I don't think anybody is saying that the video shows specifically who did it," said Joe Van Heest with the defense." They [prosecutors] have used all kind of circumstantial evidence to try to tie Mario Woodward into that car at that time..."

"The witness for the videotape tried to explain to the jury in his opinion that it was a black male," added fellow defense attorney Richard Keith. "However he was not able to explain that to any particular detail how he arrived at that conclusion because he couldn't explain other than the color of his opinion of the color with any detail or with any credibility how it was he arrived at his decision. He based it on the totality of his research and review of the videotape."

An agent from the U.S Marshal Service also testified that they received an anonymous tip that Woodward was headed to Atlanta. He was arrested the next day at a gas station right outside of that city.

Witness Arrested Friday

And a witness was arrested on the final day of testimony.

Before the defense rested attorneys put one witness on the stand during an evidentiary hearing, in which the jury was not present.

Keva Shoemaker said while she was moving her belongings from one house to another "last Sunday" she overheard a man she called "Stone" say he was the one who killed the police officer.

The state, however, brought "Stone" to court Friday and he testified he has been in prison  since October of 2007.

Montgomery police officers arrested Shoemaker for perjury.

WSFA 12 News will continue following this story as the jury deliberates.