Sudderth expected to testify
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Isaiah Sudderth is expected tell a Lawrence County Common Pleas Court jury today his version of the events that took place the night Damon Pringle died.
The prosecution rested its case Tuesday afternoon and defense attorney Roger Smith indicated he has “one or two” witnesses to call.
The Columbus man is accused of shooting Pringle June 18 after an incident at the Ironton home of Sudderth’s girlfriend, Kimberly Sammons.
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Sammons was one of several witnesses Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Jeff Smith called Tuesday.
She cried at times as she recounted that she had known Pringle 10 years and had dated Sudderth approximately a month when the shooting occurred.
She said while they were not living together, he had stayed there a few times and had personal items at her home.
Sammons told the court she and Sudderth had gone to the American Legion June 17, the night before the shooting and had run into Pringle and some of his friends and family. The chance meeting was amicable.
She said she and Sudderth left and went back to her house. During the evening, Sudderth received several telephone calls from Kristen Schneider regarding two friends who had recently broken up and a key the man had in his possession that the woman wanted returned to her. After a while, Sammons said, the telephone calls angered Sudderth.
“He started getting irate and he threw the phone to me and told me to handle it,” Sammons testified. When the phone rang again, Sammons said she told Schneider not to call anymore and hung up on her. Sammons admitted she told Schneider at one point “if you want me you know where I am.”
Shortly thereafter, Schneider, Pringle, and Michelle Lewis Burton came to her residence. She said she did not know how they got into her house, but she and Schneider began to argue in the kitchen.
“I asked her why she stormed in my house,” Sammons said.
And while she and Schneider were arguing, she said Pringle began to assault Sudderth.
“The more we argued the more Damon beat him,” she said. Her comments drew gasps from people seated in the gallery.
Sammons said she could hear Sudderth’s flesh tear as Pringle assaulted him. She said Pringle used a closed fist, but others who testified Tuesday said Pringle used an open hand to assault Sudderth. Still others said Pringle used both an open hand and a fist.
“Kimberly and I swindled down and I remember Damon say, ‘All right’ and Isaiah was able to get loose (from Pringle). I think Damon realized he had no real reason to be there,” Sammons told the court. “It was not Isaiah’s dispute with Kristen, it was Kristen’s dispute with me. It seemed like Damon was going to walk out, but then that’s when it got bad.”
She said that is when Sudderth went upstairs and then came back with a gun.
Sammons testified she did not see the first bullet fired but did see the second one and saw Pringle go out the back door and fall on the ground outside her apartment.
“I was screaming at Isaiah to leave,” she cried. At one point during her testimony Tuesday, she looked over at Sudderth and cried, “I’m sorry.”
Sudderth nodded and waved his hand at her.
When Jeff Smith asked her if she thought the assault against Sudderth was over before he went to get a gun, she said yes.
During cross examination, Sammons told the court she had not invited any of the Schneider-Pringle group to her home.
“Whoever showed up, they were uninvited,” Roger Smith asked her.
“Yes,” she said.
“And when Damon grabbed Isaiah by the shirt you testified Isaiah didn’t have a chance to say anything,” Roger Smith asked her.
“Pretty much,” she replied.
Sammons said she did not recall Ian Edens, Schneider’s boyfriend, being at her house that night or Jamar Boykin, but said Boykin could have come in while she was in the kitchen arguing with Schneider. Both Boykin and Edens testified they were at the Sammons residence at the time of the shooting.
Both they and Michelle Lewis Burton testified they thought the physical episode between Pringle and Sudderth had ended before Sudderth went to get a gun to shoot Pringle and that Sudderth could have left the apartment without shooting anyone.
Also Tuesday, George Pringle, Damon Pringle’s father, testified he had heard the gunshots at the Sammons residence while he was in his car near the apartment complex and went to see what had happened. He testified at one point, Sudderth pointed a gun at him, but then dropped his arm and ran. He said that was when he saw his son lying on the ground.
Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Chad Kantor testified he had stopped Sudderth in his white Ford Explorer near the Lawrence-Scioto County line shortly after the shooting. He said Sudderth was traveling in excess of 90 miles an hour at one point, but during cross-examination said when he pulled Sudderth over, that Sudderth was cooperative.
Ironton police detective, Capt. Chris Bowman also testified about his investigation into the shooting. He said the autopsy showed Pringle had both cocaine and alcohol in his system at the time of his death and that he had died from the four gunshot wounds he received.
The trial resumed Tuesday with a slightly reconfigured jury. A woman became ill and called in sick Tuesday morning and was replaced by a male alternate, adjusting the jury’s makeup to nine men and three women.
Judge Charles Cooper is presiding over the trial. Sudderth remains in jail under a $500,000 bond.