by Matt Harvey
ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR
CLARKSBURG -- The attorney for a man charged with murder in the shooting death of his brother isn't denying his client fired the fatal shot.
Instead, attorney James M. Pool told Harrison Circuit Judge James A. Matish that the defense of Paul A. Pumphrey Jr. -- who has pleaded innocent -- will focus on these possibilities: Self defense, defense of others or an accident.
Pool's statement came just before Matish began the process of seating jurors. By morning's end, a jury of 10 women and two men, plus another female alternate, were in place to hear the second murder trial in the death of Eric Pumphrey, 21, who was found shot to death Aug. 4, 2002, at the Haywood home of Pumphrey's mother, Sylvania Newman.
In the first trial in the case, Newman was acquitted on a charge of aiding and abetting in Eric Pumphrey's death.
n Assistant Prosecutor Kurt W. Hall, representing the office of Prosecutor Joe Shaffer, told jurors the evidence "is going to be clear there was a crime."
"It's your job to figure out which crime was committed," Hall said in his opening statement.
Eric Pumphrey was unarmed when he was shot, Hall said.
n The investigating officer, Harrison County Sheriff's Deputy K.L. McHenry, testified about taking a statement from Paul Pumphrey.
The statement, which was taped, was played for the jury. In it, Paul Pumphrey tells McHenry he fired once at his brother's feet. His brother threatened to beat him up and came at him, Paul Pumphrey said in the statement. He fired again, meaning to hit a tree behind his brother, Paul Pumphrey said in the statement. Instead, the shot hit his brother, Paul Pumphrey said in the statement.
"He grabbed his chest and I said, 'Oh,
-, I hit him,' and he fell down," Pumphrey said in the statement.
n In his opening statement, Pool told jurors that Paul Pumphrey took care of his mom.
"It's the story of a boy and his mother," Pool said.
In the Newman trial, some testimony indicated Eric Pumphrey slapped the wall of his mother's home close to where she was standing, then spit in her face. Eric Pumphrey was shot shortly after that outburst, which came in the middle of an argument between Newman and Eric Pumphrey, testimony at the earlier trial indicated.
n Former state forensic pathologist Dr. James L. Frost testified Paul Pumphrey died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
The bullet went through both lungs, the heart and the aorta, said Frost, who conducted an exam on the body before he retired.
Police have alleged a 9 mm handgun was used.