Hallman trial: Jurors listen to evidence in shooting death

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE - A 12-member jury panel will have the task of determining whether Steven Hallman murdered his wife or whether the two were wrestling with a gun that discharged and killed the 22-year-old woman.

The two scenarios were set up by attorneys representing the prosecution and the defense Wednesday as the murder trial against Hallman began. The jury may get the case to decide by the end of this week.

On Oct. 13, 2007, Kimberly Ann Hallman died of a gunshot wound to her brain at the couple’s town home on Miles Drive off Beech Grove Road.

Sgt. Jeremy Meyer, a member of the Shepherdsville Police Department who was one of the two detectives working on the case, interviewed Hallman several hours after the shooting.

Prior to the taped interview, Meyer said Hallman took time to make a written statement.

In that statement, Hallman said that the couple had been stressed over going to school at the University of Louisville and they got into an argument.

He said Kimberly got mad at him and told him to leave.

Trying to get sympathy, the defendant went out to his vehicle and got a gun out and brought it into the home. Thinking the gun was unloaded, Hallman said he made some noises trying to make his wife think he was going to kill himself.

He said in his written statement, as well as his audio interview, that she grabbed the gun and they wrestled with it when it discharged, killing Kimberly.

“I have to live with this the rest of my life because of something stupid,” Hallman told Meyer.

He said that his wife was trying to speak after being shot in the side of the head.

Leah Collier, a firearm examiner with the Kentucky State Police, said she examined the semi-automatic weapon, said the only way to fire the 9 mm gun was to pull the trigger.

Looking at the bullet fragments, she said they couldn’t be identified to be from the gun.

Going through the various steps to determine whether a gun is loaded, Collier said the assumption should be that every one is loaded.

Hallman served three years in the U.S. Army and another five with the National Guard.

Dr. Timothy Bratton discounted Hallman’s story that his wife was upset over being told she might have MS. He said she was tested for MS but there was no diagnosis. He did send her to a specialist for muscle aches.

He said she was told in September that all her blood tests were normal.

Ken Rider, a trace section supervisor for the KSP, said that the victim had gunshot residue on her hands but Hallman didn’t.

He explained that there were ways to get rid of the residue caused when a gun is fired, including washing of hands.

Dr. Donna Stewart, a state medical examiner, said that an autopsy of the victim showed that the barrel of the gun was placed inside the mouth and nearly touched the tonsils.

She said once the gun was fired, all voluntary actions ceased and death was nearly instantaneous due to the major damage to the brain.

The examiner found some bruising on the legs of the victim but was unable to tell the age of the injuries. She also found some bruising on the arms.

The victim’s knuckles were bruised and Stewart said that could have been from taking defensive actions.

In looking at the position of the body, she discounted the defendant’s claim that he tried CPR on his wife.

During cross-examination, Stewart said she ruled the death a homicide, which is different that a self-inflicted cause of death, which could be suicide or accidental.

During his opening statement, prosecutor Mike Ferguson said Hallman had no regard for life when he brought the handgun into the room and set in motion the actions that led to her death.

“He created the circumstances that caused her death,” said Ferguson.

Mark Hardy and Jennifer Lowe are serving as the defense team for Hallman.

In his opening, Hardy said that there was no sign of force or trauma to the victim. And he said his client had no gunshot residue on his hands.

The jury returns on Tuesday.

Hallman is facing a murder charge, carrying a possible penalty of 20 years to life in prison.


Friday, 1/23

SHEPHERDSVILLE - Did Steven Hallman intentionally shoot his wife or was it just a terrible accident on Oct. 13, 2007.

Testimony continues today in the murder trial against Steven Hallman.

In the first two days of testimony, jurors have heard from Sgt. Jeremy Meyer of the Shepherdsville Police Department, one of two detectives who led the investigation.

They also watched a videotaped interview with Hallman shortly after the shooting took place on Miles Drive off Beech Grove Road.

In the video statements, Hallman said both had been stressed over various issues. When Kimberly Hallman got mad at her husband, he said he went to his vehicle to get a .9 mm handgun.

He thought the gun was empty and he made noise in the bathroom so his wife would think he was trying to commit suicide in an attempt to get sympathy.

Instead, he said she grabbed the gun and as they wrestled for control, it discharged fatally wounding the 22-year-old Hallman.

Prosecutor Mike Ferguson told jurors in his opening argument that the evidence will show that it was not an accident.

The trial is expected to continue most of next week. Under the murder charge, Hallman could be facing a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.


Thursday, 1/22

SHEPHERDSVILLE - Testimony began late Wednesday afternoon in the murder trial against Steven Hallman.

Hallman is accused of the Oct. 13, 2007, shooting death of his wife, Kimberly.

Sgt. Jeremy Meyer of the Shepherdsville Police Department was the lone witness for prosecutor Mike Ferguson.

Meyer led the jury through a series of photos taken at the couple's home on Miles Drive off Beech Grove Road.

Testimony will resume at 9 a.m. on Thursday in Bullitt Circuit Court.