BENTON — During testimony Thursday, family painted a sympathetic, soft picture of Brian Pheasant, the Christopher man accused of murdering his wife in 2016.
Pheasant faces two first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of his wife on Oct. 31, 2016. In testimony delivered over nearly two weeks of trial, it was revealed that he purchased a pistol the day of the alleged crime. Witnesses for the state testified that Pheasant went bar-hopping with friend to blow off steam after realizing he would be going through his third divorce — Pheasant had learned two weeks earlier that his wife allegedly was having an affair.
After being dropped off at his house by his friend, Brian Pheasant went inside and, according to a recorded police interview played during trial, he said he intended to kill himself in front of her, but couldn’t get the gun to fire. As he tried to get his gun to work — he said he had never fired a weapon in his life — he accidentally shot his wife. He followed her, still trying to get his gun ready to fire and to kill himself but again, he said, accidentally shot her. This time she hit the floor, and later died.
On Thursday, the defense began presenting evidence and brought several family members to the stand to attest to Pheasant’s good nature and character.
Trisha Veach had been married to Pheasant for 10 years between 1998 and 2008. She said while the two did argue often, Pheasant was a good man and a good father.
“He’s a good person,” she told Pheasant’s defense attorney, Paula Newcomb. She said that while the divorce was somewhat contentious, the two became friendly, and Pheasant was a very present and attentive father despite being separated from his children.
Veach did say that Pheasant takes breakups particularly hard, hard enough to attempt suicide.
The defense will begin presenting its evidence in the case 9 a.m. Thursday.
Veach told Newcomb that she had talked to her ex-husband in the weeks leading up to the alleged crime and became concerned for him when she found out he and Beth Pheasant were separating.
She said while the two had not been on the best of terms before his arrest, she still tried to reach out to him and offer him help in finding a place to live. She said Pheasant told her that the breakups made him feel “hollow inside.” However, she said he never threatened to kill Beth Pheasant.
One of Pheasant’s children testified as well, saying that the breakup with Beth Pheasant was affecting his father in a way he had never seen. In an outing before the alleged crime, the son said he saw his dad cry for the second time in his life — the first was when Pheasant’s grandchild was born.
Pheasant’s son said his dad told him he was “tired of being hurt.”
Hannah Pheasant, 22, also said she was concerned for her dad around the time her stepmom was killed. She said he showed up out of the blue at her house as she was giving her son a bath — he never just showed up. She also said he never told her how he was feeling either.
“He told me he was heartbroken,” she said. However, she said she didn’t know “how bad he was suffering.”
Testimony concluded Thursday and is scheduled to resume 9 a.m. Monday. Newcomb said Brian Pheasant was likely to testify.