COLUMBUS, Ohio – A man whose house was hit in a string of shootings on and around Columbus-area highways told jurors Monday that he initially thought a backfiring car — not a gunshot — roused him from sleep.
After he awoke the night of December 14, 2003, Ronald Edwards said he didn't see any cars outside and went to bed. It wasn't until the next afternoon that Edwards found a bullet in his bathtub while cleaning it.
Attorneys for defendant Charles McCoy Jr. (search), 29, concede he fired at vehicles, houses and a school, but they say he didn't understand right from wrong during the five-month shooting spree in 2003 and 2004 because of untreated paranoid schizophrenia (search).
McCoy is charged with 24 counts in the string of 12 shootings. The Columbus man would be hospitalized if a jury accepts his plea of innocent by reason of insanity.
He could face the death penalty if convicted of aggravated murder of Gail Knisley (search), who died in November 2003 riding in a car on a freeway and was the only person killed in the shootings.
In another of the 12 shootings, Emma Fader testified that she first yelled at her son on the phone when she saw splintered wood paneling in her front room, thinking he tried to hang a picture when she was gone for the weekend. After she found more damage to the wall, her sons found the bullet on the floor. It came within inches of her bird Tweety's cage.
Prosecutors and the defense tried to establish different pictures of the level of danger when the homes were hit.
Under questioning from defense attorney Andrew Haney, Fader said investigators who shined laser beams through the bullet hole told her the shot was fired from a neighborhood on the other side of Interstate 270, which runs on a raised embankment about a quarter mile from her home.
McCoy's parents are expected to testify in his trial later Monday or Tuesday. The judge in the case said prosecutors likely will finish their arguments Tuesday and the defense will present its case starting Thursday.