Christopher Calmer won't testify in murder trial

Calmer decides not to testify during trial

Day 5 of Christopher Calmer's murder trial ended at noon Friday.

Lawyers for both sides are scheduled to meet with Judge Thomas Wilson Friday afternoon to discuss his instructions to the jury next week.

The day started with Calmer notifying the judge of his decision not to testify during the trial. 

The defense then called Crisp County Sheriff's Office Major Joseph Arzola. He's in charge of the jail. That's where Calmer was being held before the trial and jury selection started. He discussed Calmer's time there.

During cross examination, they discussed Calmer's skills including being able to operate the complex phone system and purchasing items through the commissary. 

The first order included toothpaste, shaving cream, drink mix, postcards, reading glasses, denture tablets, denture adhesive cream, acetaminophen, coffee, chocolate chip cookies, a legal pad, and pens. 

The second order included: a sweatshirt, a T-shirt, boxers, crew socks, shorts, shave cream, ibuprofen,10 post cards, glasses, acetaminophen, coffee, Snickers Almond bars. That order cost Calmer $84.66.

He's received several orders of books, and allowed recreation outside one hour every day. 

"He's been a model inmate for us," Arzola said. "He never gave our staff any problems."

Jurors heard no mention of Calmer cutting his neck in an apparent suicide attempt during his time in the Crisp County Jail. 

Stephan Bunker is a consultant for 911 dispatch operations. The defense called him as a witness. He was admitted as a expert in his field. He shared a critique of the 911 call between Calmer's uncle and 911 dispatchers before the shootout on September 13, 2014. 

Bunker suggested that Deputy Michael Norris and Deputy Jeff Wilson could have reacted differently to the situation if they had more information about Calmer's status before approaching him.

The uncle told dispatchers that Calmer was suicidal, and "wanted to find some cops, so he could shoot at them so that they would kill him." The Monroe County sheriff's office could not say whether that information was passed along to the officers on the scene.

Earlier this week Monroe County Sheriff John Cary Bittick admitted his department's radio system at the time had problems in some parts of the county. The prosecution said Deputy Jeff Wilson talked to Calmer's uncle on the scene before they tried to approached Calmer.

Bunker said Monroe County should have update their 911 protocol that other departments across the country were using so that dispatchers collect and share more information with officers headed to a crime scene.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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