The evidentiary portion of the murder trial of Bret Michael Wheeler concluded Monday after both the defense and prosecution rested their cases.
Wheeler, 26, formerly of New Windsor, is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree assault and accessory after first-degree murder.
He is accused of being a co-conspirator to Robert Theodore Bosley, who was convicted last April of first-degree murder and other charges in the Aug. 8, 2016, killing of Kandi Gerber.
Monday afternoon, the defense entered a motion for judgment of acquittal for all counts in Wheeler's case.
"What you have before you is an eviction gone bad with two participants — Robert Bosley and Kandi Gerber," Matthew Williamson, one of Wheeler's attorney's, argued before Judge Barry Hughes without the jury present.
Williamson said there was no evidence that Wheeler was aware of an intention by Bosley to harm Gerber and that the "linchpin" of the argument was a call placed to Wheeler and Bosley's former employer Bradley Merrell at 3:45 p.m. Aug. 8, 2016. If the two had conspired to harm Gerber, Williamson said, Bosley would not have called asking for Merrell's assistance.
Deputy State's Attorney Edward Coyne argued that Wheeler entered into an agreement with Bosley when he left the basement, leaving Bosley alone with Gerber.
Hughes denied the defense's motion for acquittal, stating in his ruling that the prosecution was entitled to all reasonable inferences. The jury will decide on all charges.
Prior to the ruling, the morning began with the defense's continued cross-examination of prosecution witness Carroll County Sheriff's Office Cpl. William Murray, who interrogated Wheeler on the night of Aug. 8, 2016.
During direct questioning, the state showed portions of the footage from the nearly 16 hours that Wheeler spent in the interview room at the northern facility of the Sheriff's Office. During cross-examination, the defense showed additional excerpts from the footage.
The footage shown Monday mainly depicted Wheeler speaking with Murray. One portion showed Wheeler explaining to the detective where to find the blade he allegedly disposed of after Bosley used it on Gerber. At another time, Wheeler recounted how Bosley told him that the two were "in it together" and Wheeler needed to help move Gerber's body or he was going to go to prison "with people who aren't going to like you at all."
Footage shows Murray telling Wheeler that his story isn't making sense, to which Wheeler replied, "I should have done more."
"I absolutely should have done more. I should have done something," Wheeler said during the video footage shown Monday. "I have to live with that and worst of all [Gerber's daughter] has to live with that."
The state then rested its case.
During a recess, the defense entered two motions to introduce evidence. Hughes denied both, ruling that the evidence was not admissible. Eric Offutt, another of Wheeler's attorney's, entered the defense's objection to the court's rulings into the record.
The jury was then called back and Wheeler was given the option of testifying. He chose not to, asserting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The defense then rested its case without calling any witnesses.
Proceedings are scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, with closing arguments from both sides. The trial is then expected to go to the jury.