MURPHYSBORO — Monday’s testimony during Jody Pullen Jr.’s attempted murder case culminated in a crime scene reconstruction that the state argues clearly proves its point that Pullen was the aggressor in an April 12 Carbondale shooting that left four injured. The defense wasn’t so sure.
Pullen is charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated discharge of a firearm related to the shooting on Washington Street in Carbondale, between Mexican restaurant and bar Tres Hombres and ABC Liquor that injured four. Police reports at the time said the shooting happened as a result of a dispute among acquaintances.
The state, represented by Assistant State’s Attorney Jayson Clark, contends that Pullen began shooting from his car while waiting at ABC Liquor’s drive-up window after arguing with acquaintances across the alley. The defense doesn’t argue those facts, but contends Pullen began firing after he saw Traveal Sutton exit a black Ford Focus with a gun. With his girlfriend and baby in the car, Pullen acted in self-defense, his attorney, Christian Baril, has argued. That version of the story differs from what Pullen told police in April — he said Sutton didn’t just pull a gun, but also shot at him.
Dan Reed is an evidence technician with the Carbondale Police Department and initially took the stand Friday with his testimony spilling into the first half of Monday. He detailed the minutiae of his job — collecting tiny fragments of evidence, measuring things and photographing the scene from every angle. He does this to help investigators get what the “what” of an event.
Among many other things, he led the jury though his thorough look at Pullen’s car, from which video shows him firing several shots toward Tres Hombres while in line at ABC. He showed the four bullets he found in the car and the six “defects,” or bullet holes, in the car.
Much of his testimony was procedural — the state had to show chain of custody with the evidence it was presenting, and had to get into specifics to show the investigation was thorough and done above board. However, it all came together Monday with a to-scale rendering of the crime scene, complete with calculated bullet trajectory and exact placement of evidence as it was found that night.
Clark asked Reed to tell the court from what general direction the bullets fired were fired that damaged Pullen’s car. Reed said they came from the right side of the car, to the rear. His rendering of the scene showed lines that led to a pile of shell casings about 48 feet behind the black Ford Focus Sutton was near at the time of the shooting.
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This was significant for the state because Clark has worked this last week to debunk one of the initial stories Pullen told police when he was arrested in Harrisburg about two weeks after the shooting. Pullen told police that he started shooting because he was initially shot at. However, based on Clark’s line of questioning Monday, that might not appear to be the case.
Clark asked Reed about the story Pullen told police.
“Were you trying to test that claim,” Clark asked. Reed answered that he was. Clark then asked what he concluded after all his research.
“It doesn’t add up. It didn’t happen,” Reed said.
On cross-examination, Baril pointed to the one thing Reed’s reconstruction doesn’t show: time.
“Your reconstructions cannot tell us what order the shots were fired in, can they,” Baril said. Reed said no. Baril later brought up a similar point.
“It can’t show if someone pulled a gun, can it,” Baril asked. Again, Reed said no.
Monday concluded with testimony from lab technicians regarding DNA samples collected from the scene, and will resume Tuesday when the defense is anticipated to present its case.