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Posted: 4/12/2006 2:40:14 PM EDT
"...bullet fragments were vital to her case because they depicted the "level of destruction" and the cruelty of the attack."

link

Ballistics evidence revealed
By Nicole Sequino, Berkshire Eagle Staff



Wednesday, April 12
NORTHAMPTON — Prosecutors argued yesterday that Bryan R. Johnston deliberately loaded his assault rifle with hollow-point bullets to cause explosive damage when he fatally shot a 22-year-old University of Massachusetts senior two years ago.
First Assistant District Attorney Renee L. Steese presented the testimony of Trooper John S. Schrijn, a ballistics expert, to support her case that Johnston was cognizant and deliberate in the murder of his childhood friend, David C. Sullivan.

Johnston, 24, a Dalton native, is charged with murder, armed burglary, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and possession of a large capacity firearm in connection with Sullivan's death.

Sullivan, a Washington town native, had been working on his computer in his second-floor bedroom at 105 Meadow St. in Amherst when Johnston reportedly barged in and shot him in the left chest area, left ear and right hand on Dec. 7, 2004.

While Steese has argued that Sullivan's murder was intentional and cruel, defense attorney Alexander Z. Nappan has countered that his client was mentally ill and suffering from paranoia at the time of the slaying and believed he had to kill Sullivan. Nappan is expected to begin his case today.

During his testimony yesterday, Schrijn said he arrived at the Amherst apartment on Dec. 7, 2004. After speaking with state police detectives and Amherst police, Schrijn said he entered Sullivan's bedroom to investigate.

Sullivan lay on his left side next to his computer desk, his chair overturned, with six bullet casings around his body and his bed, Schrijn said. Schrijn estimated that, from the location of the casings, the shooter was standing at least as close as the threshold of the door when he fired the rifle at Sullivan.

Two days later, Schrijn said police recovered the murder weapon, a .223-caliber Colt assault rifle, an ammunition clip and a live round near a tree in a wooded embankment off Old Bay Road in Hadley.

Also on Dec. 9, 2004, Schrijn said he attended the autopsy of Sullivan, who had bled to death from the gunshot wounds. The medical examiner, Dr. Loren Mednick, had removed six sets of fragments from each wound and given them to Schrijn for a ballistics investigation.

Nappan, however, objected to Steese's attempt to show the jury the fragments on a projector, noting that Schrijn had altered some of them under examination. This led Judge Bertha Josephson to excuse the jury as she listened to arguments from Steese and Nappan for most of the afternoon.

Steese explained that Schrijn's testimony about the bullet fragments were vital to her case because they depicted the "level of destruction" and the cruelty of the attack.

"These are direct evidence of the manner in which David Sullivan was killed, and they show the explosive quality of the attack," she said.

Nappan countered that the bullet fragments would be "prejudicial" to his client's case, and asked the judge to discontinue the testimony.

Josephson allowed Steese to display one set of fragments, which had not been altered by Schrijn, to the jury. She also instructed Schrijn to explain to the jury that he had to "manipulate" some of the bullet fragments as part of his investigation.

Once the jury re-entered the courtroom, Steese resumed her questioning of Schrijn. He also explained that hollow-point bullets explode when they touch a solid mass, causing a larger area of damage.

Under Nappan's questioning, Schrijn said that law enforcement agents and the military often use the same type of assault rifle. Nappan has argued that Johnston had accumulated an "arsenal" of handguns and rifles in 2004 because of his paranoia and his fear that the mafia and others wanted to kill him.

Johnston was also attending Westfield State College as a criminal justice major and working as a per diem security officer at Bay State Medical Center.

Nappan also pointed out that the size of the bullet fragments were smaller than a dime.

Trooper Chris M. Dolan, a fingerprinting expert, also testified that he found Johnston's right-middle and right-ring fingerprints on the stock of the assault rifle. Three troopers also verified these findings, Dolan noted.

Link Posted: 4/13/2006 7:05:59 AM EDT
And why can't any of us be on these types of jury's? No question the guy is guilty, but using the bullet fragments as evidence saying it was worse? Come on. That's a bit of a stretch there. Doesn't matter what kind of rifle or bullet was used. At that range, pretty much anything would fragment unless it was AP.
Link Posted: 4/13/2006 7:08:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/13/2006 7:10:47 AM EDT by rob78]

Originally Posted By redleg13a:
And why can't any of us be on these types of jury's? No question the guy is guilty, but using the bullet fragments as evidence saying it was worse? Come on. That's a bit of a stretch there. Doesn't matter what kind of rifle or bullet was used. At that range, pretty much anything would fragment unless it was AP.



they're using it to show premeditation...


"he couldn't be crazy and paranoid if he took the time to choose this particular round"


If proven, he'll get murder in the 1st as opposed to being shipped off to an asylum OR a lesser charge of manslaughter
Link Posted: 4/13/2006 7:14:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By rob78:

Originally Posted By redleg13a:
And why can't any of us be on these types of jury's? No question the guy is guilty, but using the bullet fragments as evidence saying it was worse? Come on. That's a bit of a stretch there. Doesn't matter what kind of rifle or bullet was used. At that range, pretty much anything would fragment unless it was AP.



they're using it to show premeditation...


"he couldn't be crazy and paranoid if he took the time to choose this particular round"


If proven, he'll get murder in the 1st as opposed to being shipped off to an asylum OR a lesser charge of manslaughter



Actually, he'd have to be crazy to believe that there's much of a difference between the terminal ballistics of a HP and a FMJ (cannelured) .223 round.
Link Posted: 4/13/2006 7:16:29 AM EDT
Isnt the most common 223 stocked by walmart a 45g JHP varmint round?
Link Posted: 4/13/2006 7:18:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By PSYWAR1-0:
Isnt the most common 223 stocked by walmart a 45g JHP varmint round?



unfortunately, for me, yes...


hopefully they'll pick up mil-surplus soon
Link Posted: 4/13/2006 7:20:03 AM EDT
What's this charge of using a high capacity rifle?
Link Posted: 4/13/2006 7:26:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By redleg13a:
And why can't any of us be on these types of jury's? No question the guy is guilty, but using the bullet fragments as evidence saying it was worse? Come on. That's a bit of a stretch there. Doesn't matter what kind of rifle or bullet was used. At that range, pretty much anything would fragment unless it was AP.



They'd find out if we were familiar with firearms and then dismiss us.

They want sheeple they can sway, not Joe Arfcommer.
Link Posted: 4/13/2006 7:28:38 AM EDT
This has got the be the most Anti-gun trial that I've seen in the past... 3 days.

"A hollowpoint is designed to explode upon impact with flesh" Hollow points are in fact designed to expand. The fact that they 'exploded' dictated that he was either using a match round or a varment round.
Link Posted: 4/13/2006 7:29:31 AM EDT
Shooting him in the ear... Probably wouldn't have made much difference if he used a lead solid or depleted urnaium or those super duper exploding bullets.
Link Posted: 4/13/2006 7:33:38 AM EDT
It's all "look at the monkey" bullshit anyways. The real question should be why did he shoot the guy, not what bullets he used.
Link Posted: 4/13/2006 7:35:07 AM EDT
I wonder if the defense attorney knows enough to point out that police use hollow points.
Link Posted: 4/13/2006 7:38:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Schulze:
What's this charge of using a high capacity rifle?



Peoples Republic of MA.


Link Posted: 4/13/2006 8:33:53 AM EDT

Originally Posted By macman37:

Originally Posted By redleg13a:
And why can't any of us be on these types of jury's? No question the guy is guilty, but using the bullet fragments as evidence saying it was worse? Come on. That's a bit of a stretch there. Doesn't matter what kind of rifle or bullet was used. At that range, pretty much anything would fragment unless it was AP.



They'd find out if we were familiar with firearms and then dismiss us.

They want sheeple they can sway, not Joe Arfcommer.



Yup, I know. I was just ranting.
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