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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Jury hears prosecution's case in Scobee trial

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Seven witnesses appeared in Clay County Circuit Court on the behalf of the prosecution in the trial against Lisa Ann Scobee.

According to Deputy Prosecutor Chou-il Lee's opening statement, Scobee "failed to do her duty" by "never calling" police or medical personnel for help, "and rejected help" from a person who stopped after an accident resulted in injuries that caused the death of her husband, Brian E. Scobee, 45, Nov. 13, 2005.

"(Lisa Ann Scobee) was more afraid for herself, of getting in trouble for driving under the influence and being arrested, that she let Brian Scobee lay there in the road," Lee said. "Use your common sense and see the truth in this case."

Defense attorney Darrell Felling also asked the jury to use common sense.

"Lisa loved her husband and tried several times to get someone to help get Brian Scobee off the road and back home," Felling said, adding that his client didn't know her husband was injured, but, instead, she thought he was passed out and snoring in the road. "This is an interesting case, but not all the evidence will match up with the prosecution's case."

Both sides stipulated the couple had been drinking at a local bar until 2 a.m., and, that around 3 a.m., Brian Scobee exited a moving vehicle driven by Lisa Scobee just south of the intersection of County Road 200 West and CR 1350 N.

Both sides also agreed there were four 911 calls placed to dispatchers, three by William "Bill" Clements, Lisa Scobee's brother, and one by Lisa Scobee herself.

Felling said Lisa Scobee spent about an hour making numerous calls -- leaving the scene at least once -- to try and find someone to help get her husband out of the road and home -- all while calling her brother.

"I've dealt with Brian before when he was passed out. At 5 foot 9 inches and 200 plus (pounds), Brian can be difficult to move around when he was passed out," Clements said about leaving his home in Stilesville, Ind., to help. "I believed that Brian was going to be all right. I had heard him snoring on the phone and just figured he was passed out. The first time Lisa noticed something was different with Brian she called me, hysterical and screaming he wasn't breathing. I called 911 right after that."

Pathologist Dr. Roland Kohr, who performed the autopsy on Brian Scobee, determined that 29 hours after his death, Brian Scobee blood alcohol tested at a .245, which if taken earlier could have been as high as .26 or .27.

The "cause of death" was an extensive skull fracture above the right ear that caused bruising on the left side of the brain, bleeding along the lining of the skull and the bleeding around the lower brain near the spinal cord.

Kohr said the combination of the high BAC and the skull fracture would have affected Brian Scobee's breathing, making it appear that he could have been asleep and snoring.

"The injury is consistent if a person falls or jumps from a moving vehicle," Kohr said, adding that it would be unusual for a person to sustain this type of injury from a vehicle not moving. "In my opinion, a person sustaining this type of injury would not survive this severe of a skull fracture."

The jury presented a question to Indiana State Police Det. Troy Guinn, curious about how fast Lisa Scobee was driving when her husband exited the couple's SUV.

During an interview with Lisa Scobee and investigators at the Clay County Justice Center, Guinn said she told officers she was driving around 50-55 mph while arguing and striking her husband during their drive home. When Brian Scobee opened the door, Guinn said Lisa Scobee told officers she tried to stop, slowing to about 10-20 mph when he fell out.

When the jury asked if there were skid marks or tire tracks at the scene of the accident, Guinn said he didn't recall any.

The jury also asked Guinn if Lisa Scobee's leaving the scene to find help was illegal.

"I think, and it's only my opinion," he said, "but the only reason to leave an accident scene is to notify authorities you need help."

The question of whether it was an accident scene was left to then Clay County Sheriff's Deputy Brian Pierce.

Covering for a dispatcher during her break, Pierce answered the initial 911 call in which Clements provided the incorrect address (CR 200 E). Pierce said he and Brazil City Patrolman Dennis Archer were initially unable to find where the Scobees were located, slowing the response time for emergency personnel trying to find the couple.

Pierce testified that at no time was he ever told that Brian Scobee fell out of a moving vehicle, only that he was passed out in the road without a pulse.

"My main attention when I arrived on the scene was the victim," Pierce said about not performing a portable breath test (PBTest) to determine if Lisa Scobee was intoxicated. "I immediately went to the victim, not Lisa Scobee. I had no interaction with her until after TransCare arrived to take over CPR."

When asked by Felling why no PBTest was performed on his client when it is part of official protocols at an accident scene, Pierce admitted to poor judgment, but said if either Lisa Scobee or Clements had told him what happened and how Brian Scobee fell out of the vehicle when he was talking with them, it would have changed the dynamics of his investigation.

Chief Deputy Rob Gambill testified that Lisa Scobee was never read her Miranda Rights because she volunteered to be interviewed by investigators at an informal interview at her home and a formal interview at the sheriff's department.

"She told several versions of what happened," Gambill said, adding that Lisa Scobee admitted her reason for not calling 911 was fear of being arrested because "she knew she was intoxicated, but felt she was capable of driving home."

One witness questioned the condition of the couple.

On Nov. 13, 2005, Peggy Ringo lived within sight of the intersection where Brian Scobee landed in the road and testified that she watched the vehicle from her front porch while getting ready to go to work that morning.

"I saw a car with its lights on down the road about 3:35 a.m. I sat on the porch and watched it for a while, it was too early to go to work," Ringo said, adding that she did stop to offer help to the woman who was cradling and rocking a man in her arms in the road while on the way to work. "I asked the woman if they needed help. She said, 'No, he's just sick,' in a singsong kind of voice. They both seemed sick to me."

When asked why she didn't call 911 by Lee, Ringo wasn't exactly sure.

"It just didn't seem right, but I don't know why I didn't call 911," she said.

Guinn told the jury this death investigation had a lot of unasked questions.

"There are a lot of things I would have done different in this investigation," Guinn said. "My first attention would have been the injured person, but once relieved of that duty, I would have tried to determine exactly what happened. How did Brian Scobee get in that road? There's a dead man in the road, I would find out why."

Felling said it was important to his client, for her state of mind and why she didn't call 911, to know what would happen if officials found Brian Scobee drunk in the road.

"It's an irrelevant question," Guinn said about Lisa Scobee's admitted fear of arrest. "I wasn't investigating whether he was drunk in public. I was investigating the events that led to Brian Scobee's death."

The prosecution will continue presenting testimony from witnesses when the trial resumes in Clay Circuit Court at 9 a.m. today.


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As a result of poor judgement, bad decisions and most of all alcohol misuse, a man died. If they had been responsible about their drinking and thier actions the 'accident' would never have happened. What if it wasn't her husband, what if as a result of her choice to drive drunk she killed soeone in my family due to an 'accident'. As sad as it all is and as wonderful Lisa may be and she just might be the nicest woman in Brazil, she needs to take the responsibility for the 'accident' with a judge and jury. What are teaching our children in this county if this is swept under the rug as 'opps'.

-- Posted by proudmomof2 on Wed, Jan 16, 2008, at 6:22 PM

-- Posted by proudmomof2 on Wed, Jan 16, 2008, at 6:23 PM

I really feel sorry for this woman. I've been in similar situation's where you feel it's in the best intrest of your friends future not to call the police. Life is expensive enough. We all make mistake's. When my friend's do, I don't always call the police unless I felt it was an emergency. From what is written, the children in the community should learn the police should not be so eager to drive away back to the station and stay to do their job as us other adult's have to. Then the job is done right. That's why you get paid to do the job at hand. As far as the woman asking about help. I've had arguement's with a spouse. I, like most people, feel it is no one's buisness in that situation. Especially when things have reached a some what calm. If I was on the Jury, Lisa would be able to go on with life without anymore grief than she is going to have to deal with the REST of her regretful life.

-- Posted by TsTough on Wed, Jan 16, 2008, at 9:17 PM

I fell absolutly sorry for Lisa. It's just a freak terrible accident. My thoughts and prayers are with you, so are my mothers. We love you very much and we support you in all. We hope that every one see's that in the given sitiuation you we're just worried about getting your husband out of the raod and home. We know how much you love him and we hope that everyone else can see that too!!!

-- Posted by AROGERS24 on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 12:00 PM


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