Palmyra, MO -- A Marion County jury is to resume deliberations Wednesday morning in the Larry Uhlmeyer assault case.
The seven-man, five-woman panel reviewed the evidence for more than three hours Tuesday before calling it a night.
Uhlmeyer, 54, is charged with one count of felony first-degree assault and three counts of felony second-degree assault in the Sept. 30, 2007, shooting of James Rudd, who was 26 at the time.
The incident took place during a confrontation in the garage of Uhlmeyer's home along Highway 6 near the 18-Wheeler truck stop at Taylor. Rudd’s injuries left him paralyzed from the neck down.
Neither Uhlmeyer nor Rudd took the stand. Circuit Judge Robert M. Clayton II ruled Rudd incompetent to testify and declined an interview request. Uhlmeyer chose not to answer questions.
Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Tom Redington and defense attorney Wayne Schoeneberg declined to comment after the hearing, but both had plenty to say during closing arguments.
Schoeneberg said the case was a matter of simple self-defense and that if the jury found Uhlmeyer guilty, it would open the flood gates for intruders to “do whatever they want.”
“Larry did not break into (Rudd’s) garage,” Schoeneberg said. “He broke into Larry’s garage.”
Schoeneberg added that as a former sheriff’s deputy, Uhlmeyer was trained to “shoot until the threat is eliminated.”
“It’s a tragedy Mr. Rudd will be paralyzed for the rest of his life,” he said. “This is not about sympathy. This is about (Uhlmeyer’s) future and this man’s life.”
Redington told the jury that Uhlmeyer stepped way over the line of self-defense when he continued firing at Rudd as the suspect ran from the garage. Redington called Rudd’s trespassing “a stupid thing,” but added that Uhlmeyer acted “recklessly.”
Self-defense is “appropriate in the right circumstance,” Redington said. “This is not it.”
He added that it was not self-defense to “shoot someone who’s running away” and that Uhlmeyer’s story did not “match up with the physical evidence.”
The two most dramatic moments Tuesday came when a videotape featuring Uhlmeyer walking investigators through a re-enactment of the encounter was played and when the only defense witness, the defendant’s wife, Patricia, took the stand.
On the tape, Uhlmeyer told authorities he remembers Rudd throwing his wife to the ground and firing twice when the intruder came toward him.
“He could have took off running,” Uhlmeyer is heard to say. “Instead, he kept fighting.”
Uhlmeyer said that after being shot, Rudd ran into the backyard, where he later was found unconscious by authorities. Redington argued that Uhlmeyer’s account had to be false because a search of the garage yielded only one spent pistol cartridge and no blood.
Redington also said one of the shots severed Rudd’s spinal cord and would have instantly immobilized him.
Authorities found four spent casings outside the garage and a trail of blood from the sidewalk to the spot where Rudd was found about 30 feet away.
Talking through tears, Patricia Uhlmeyer corroborated her husband’s story and told the jury she was “scared to death” by the encounter. She said she still avoids going out at night for fear of her safety.
Rudd previously claimed he went to the Uhlmeyer house after he became stranded at the 18-Wheeler. When he got no answer after knocking, Rudd went to the detached garage and fell asleep in the passenger seat of a car.
Rudd said he was awakened the next morning by the screams of Uhlmeyer's wife. Uhlmeyer told authorities that when he confronted Rudd in the garage, Rudd came threateningly toward him and that he shot the intruder.
Rudd claimed he left the garage and was walking back toward the road when he heard the first shot.
If the jury issues a guilty verdict, the result can only be for one of the four charges. If it does convict, the panel will then begin the penalty phase of the trial. If found guilty, Uhlmeyer could 10 years to more than 30 years in prison.
One juror was excused Tuesday after his wife went into labor Monday night. His seat was taken by one of the two alternates.
After being released from duty, the other alternate said she at first believed the case to be one of self-defense.
But the woman, who asked not to be identified, said that as more evidence was presented, especially that no blood was found in the garage, she began to lean toward conviction.