MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala.- Day three of the murder trial of Dale Hopson, who is accused of shooting and killing his wife, Joyce Bates, in 2016 wrapped up just before noon Thursday.
The day was full of forensics.
Some of the images shown, specifically of the autopsy, were difficult to look at.
Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences medical examiner Dr. Valerie Green was the first forensics expert to testify in the trial.
She explained to the jury that based on stippling and soot near the entrance wound on the victim’s head that the deadly shot could have been fired no farther than three feet away.
She said the bullet traveled at a downward angle from the victim’s right to left side, so it appeared the shooter would have been standing when she was shot.
Hopson’s attorney Enza D. Giles went back and forth with Dr. Green during cross examination drawing several objections from prosecutors.
“It was just a matter of clarifying positioning. It’s not really clear and that’s been sort of one of the major points for us is trying to figure out if we can establish the path and the whereabouts and how and all the stuff you see on CSI television,” explained Giles.
During his questioning of each witness, he asked if they were at the scene or knew what Hopson was thinking at the time of the shooting.
They have all answered “no.”
“It was just to clarify that no one was there. We maintain that there were only two people there and unfortunately one is not here, so the point needed to be clarified that we don’t know how it happened. Why it happened, of course, is the reason why we’re here, but the manner in which the gun unfortunately shot and killed the individual,” added Giles.
Forensics firearm and tool mark analyst Brandon Best also took the stand Thursday.
Among other things, he testified that he examined the Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver involved in the fatal shooting.
He said he tested it himself to see if one of the defendant’s previous claims that it went off without him pulling the trigger was possible.
Best said he determined it is not possible because there are three safety mechanisms in place on that gun to prevent accidental discharges.
Just before noon on Thursday both sides rested their case.
Giles told News 19 that from where they are sitting, the state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hopson intentionally shot and killed his wife.
Closing arguments begin at 9 a.m. Friday.