After spending much of Aug. 8 running errands, Sandra Schwartz, of New Windsor, made herself a cup of coffee and went to watch the news when her dog started barking, and there was a knock at the front door of her Springdale Road home.
Outside, she saw Robert Theodore Bosley — her daughter's ex-husband — and another man, Schwartz told the court during testimony Thursday at Bosley's jury trial.
She went on to say Bosley told her he and the man, Bret Michael Wheeler, had hit a deer. They asked to borrow a pressure washer and asked if Wheeler could clean up in her shower. It was then when she smelled alcohol on Bosley's breath, Schwartz testified.
Bosley is standing trial for first-degree murder, first-degree assault, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree assault in the August death of Kandi Gerber. Wheeler, Gerber's boyfriend at the time, is also charged in Gerber's death and is scheduled to appear in court for his own jury trial May 15.
Bosley's trial began Wednesday morning after jury selection concluded around 10 a.m. and continued all day. The prosecution continued making its case Thursday.
"I said, 'Robert, you've been drinking,'" Schwartz told the court Thursday, "and he didn't answer me."
She testified she saw Wheeler come back downstairs from the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist and then go outside, where Schwartz said she followed. The two asked to use her pressure washer, and Wheeler asked for a trash bag. At that point, Schwartz said Thursday, she was growing concerned, so she told them no.
"You can't use my pressure washer and I want you to leave my property now," Schwartz testified she told them.
Schwartz checked her house and locked doors with Wheeler and Bosley outside. When she later looked outside, she said, she saw police.
"I started shaking," she said. "I didn't know what was going on."
Schwartz was one of seven who testified during Bosley's trial Thursday, which picked back up at around 9 a.m. and continued until nearly 4:30 p.m. Those who testified were forensic services technician Brittaney Soto, a 10-year-old living at the residence where the alleged murder occurred, Schwartz, Carroll County Sheriff's Deputy Daren Metzler, New Windsor resident Bradley Merrell, Carroll County Sheriff's Sgt. Michael Zepp and Maryland State Police Trooper Derek Eckhardt.
Merrell, who employed both Wheeler and Bosley at different points for construction-type jobs, testified that he also spoke with the two at the Springdale Road home the day of the incident. Merrell said Bosley called him multiple times that day.
Merrell said Bosley called and asked him to come help tell Gerber she could no longer live in the basement of a home on Dennings Road which Bosley's wife, Cheryl Glass, lived in.
He testified he told Bosley he couldn't be there until later because he had to work, although Bosley called him a few more times over the afternoon to try to find out when he could be there, Merrell added.
When he finally got to the Dennings Road address in the early evening, Wheeler and Bosley weren't there, he said. Merrell said he then called Bosley, who told him to come to the Springdale Road home.
Merrell ran across the two purchasing alcohol and followed them to Schwartz's home on Springdale Road, he added. It was there Merrell testified he saw both men with what appeared to be blood on their clothes.
"I [saw] that he was covered in blood and I asked him what was going on," Merrell said of Wheeler.
Merrell testified that Bosley was also covered in blood and there was what looked like blood in the back of the truck.
"He said, 'Robert killed Kandi. He slit her throat,'" Merrell testified Wheeler told him as they stood in the driveway of the Springdale Road home.
Bosley told Merrell he and Gerber got into an argument, she came at him with a knife and he put her in a headlock and cut her throat, Merrell testified. Then, Merrell said, Bosley asked him if he could take their clothes, which Merrell said he refused.
Merrell left the property after making some small talk with Wheeler and Bosley, and called police on his way back to his house to report what he had seen and been told, he testified.
"I've been in situations — not like this," Merrell said Thursday.
Soto, the forensic services tech who began testifying Wednesday and continued at the beginning of Thursday's proceedings, showed the jury dozens of photos of the basement of the house on Dennings Road. She showed images from various angles of the basement, first from looking in through the side door, and then throughout the room and over to the backside of the stairs.
Many of the photos showed what Soto said was "possible blood," some of it smeared on the ground, some of it pooled in more concentrated locations. There were also photos of possible shoe prints in the possible blood that went in and out of the basement. A photo showed what appeared to be a possible hand print on one stair from the possible blood.
Also found in the basement, Soto testified, were blue fibers.
Zepp, a sergeant with the sheriff's office who was off duty at the time, was one of the law enforcement officers who responded to the house on Dennings Road. He entered the residence and saw the basement's condition, which he described as full of blood.
"If if was human blood, [it was] a significant [enough] quantity [for the victim] to be deceased or near death due to the blood loss," Zepp testified.
While he originally responded to the Dennings Road location, Zepp was one of a few law enforcement officers who went looking for Gerber. They kept hearing Muller Road and Old Muller Road come across the scanner, and checked both locations, Zepp testified.
They found Gerber in a grassy section beyond a gravel pull-off where Muller and Old Washington roads meet, Zepp said Thursday.
"I saw what I thought to be the … foot of a person," he added. "She was lying on her back."
Zepp said Gerber's hair was blood-soaked, and she was covered in what appeared to be the same nylon blue fibers also found in the basement.
Gerber also had a 3- to 4-inch laceration on her neck, Zepp testified. He looked for respiration, but saw none. Law enforcement on the scene called emergency personnel to officially pronounce the time of death, he said.
Zepp testified he then went to the house on Springdale Road, where the truck was, and saw what looked like blood stains and blue fibers in the truck. He then went back to the Dennings Road house, where he and other law enforcement began searching for whatever was used to cut Gerber's neck.
They had gotten information a blade had been used and placed in a white plastic bag with green writing on it, Zepp said, and they began searching a "burn pit" behind the house. Zepp said it appeared as if the location had recently been on fire.
"It was still warm to the touch," he said.
Law enforcement did not find the blade that evening, although upon returning the following day and searching in daylight with more tools, Zepp said they found the blade near the white bag, which appeared to have been partially melted.
The trial continues at 9 a.m. Friday in courtroom 4 at the Carroll County Circuit Court in Westminster.