Attorneys offer closing remarks in murder trial
Editor’s note: Tyler Webster was found guilty of second-degree murder Tuesday evening. A story on the verdict will appear in Thursday’s News.
By ANDY HALLMAN
Golden Triangle News Service
FAIRFIELD — The jury heard closing arguments Tuesday morning in the trial of Tyler Webster, who is charged with the first-degree murder of Buddy Frisbie.
The prosecution gave its closing argument first. Assistant Attorney General Denise Timmins said Webster decided to “play God” the day he shot Frisbie, which was Aug. 25, 2012.
“He decided who would live or die,” she said. “In court, he has decided to play the hero.”
Timmins said Webster is not the hero he claims to be and that he murdered Frisbie in the first degree.
Timmins reminded the jury that they have 12 verdicts they could return. The first of those is the charge Webster murdered Frisbie in the first degree. If the jury finds Webster guilty of that charge, it does not need to worry about finding him guilty of the lesser included offenses.
Timmins said the prosecution must prove five elements. Those elements are: 1) Webster shot Frisbie on our about Aug. 25, 2012; 2) Frisbie died as a result of being shot; 3) Webster acted with malice aforethought; 4) Webster committed the act willfully and deliberately; and 5) Webster’s act was not justified.
Timmins said there was no doubt Webster shot Frisbie and that he died as a result. Shelby Hall was in the camper with Frisbie at 2469 Marigold Blvd. on Aug. 25 and she witnessed Webster shoot Frisbie twice in the head.
Webster testified Monday he shot Frisbie because he believed Frisbie was raping Hall. He said Frisbie twisted Hall’s wrist and forced her arm behind her back. He said Frisbie asked Hall to perform oral sex on him and she refused. He said Frisbie continued to force Hall’s arm up her back and then asked her in a sarcastic tone if it hurt.
Timmins said Hall’s testimony of the events was quite different. Timmins said Hall demonstrated to the court how far Frisbie twisted her wrist, which Timmins said was only a “half turn.”
Timmins said Hall testified she and Frisbie were talking and laughing. She said Hall and Frisbie began kissing and then Hall unzipped Frisbie’s pants.
“Shelby Hall was not yelling or being forced to do anything,” Timmins said.
Timmins said Hall was leaned over on top of Frisbie when Webster re-entered the camper, armed with a handgun. After Webster shot Frisbie, Hall ran to Doug Knight’s camper nearby. Timmins said Knight got his shotgun and pointed it at Webster. Knight also called 911.
Timmins recounted what Webster told the 911 dispatcher he talked with that day. She said he told the dispatcher, “I just shot a man in the face,” and “He’s definitely dead. I shot him twice in the face.”
Timmins said Webster’s actions were premeditated considering the steps he took to retrieve the gun and return to the camper. She said once Webster left the camper, he walked 25-30 feet to his pickup truck, where he got in the driver’s side and opened the glovebox to retrieve his handgun.
“On the night of the crime, he told Sgt. [Jeff] Uhlmeyer he knew what he was going to do as soon as he left the trailer,” Timmins said.
Timmins said Webster’s actions were not justified because they fail to meet the standards of justification the law requires. For instance, a person is not justified in using force if an alternative course of action was available. Timmins said Webster had the option of simply leaving the camper and not returning.
The law also states a person is not justified in using force if the person being helped is not in imminent danger. Timmins said Hall’s testimony indicates she and Frisbie were play-acting and that Hall was not in danger.
Michael Adams delivered the defense’s closing argument. He said there was no dispute Webster shot Frisbie. The only dispute was why he did it.
“Tyler is a good husband and father,” he said.
Adams said Webster earned numerous medals and decorations while serving in the Army. He said the only negative thing people in the military or his wife said about him was that he was blunt.
Adams said Webster had a special relationship with Frisbie.
“This was not just another guy,” he said. “This was his best friend.”
Adams said Webster went so far as to defend Frisbie when Webster’s wife, Ann, told him Frisbie raped Carissa Godwin, Ann’s sister.
Webster testified Frisbie told him he liked to rape women and choke them during sex. He said Frisbie suggested to him on two occasions they should gangrape Hall. On Aug. 25, when Webster saw Frisbie and Hall in the camper, he believed Hall was being raped. Adams said only when Webster saw it happening in front of his own eyes did he take a stand against it.
Adams referred to Hall’s testimony that she was not afraid of Frisbie. He said it could be because she didn’t know Frisbie and his intentions as well as Webster did. He said no one knew Frisbie better than Webster.
“Why would a man kill another man who meant so much to him?” Adams asked.
Adams said Webster must have had a good reason to harm Frisbie considering he cared about Frisbie and had always defended him till that point.