Published March 20, 2014 by Florida Today
The veteran deputy wiped his eyes as he watched a video from the dash camera of Barbara Pill’s patrol car. Deputy James Troup was the first to find Pill after she was shot during a traffic stop. The video from her car was played for a jury Thursday morning as a part of the trial for her accused shooter, Brandon Bradley.
State prosecutors set up a television angled away from the audience. The audio could be heard — a woman’s voice repeatedly orders someone to “get out of the car.” Then there are gunshots. Then a different woman’s voice cries out —”oh my God.”
The state also showed jurors a photo of Pill after she was shot. They solemnly passed the photo in a manila folder among themselves.
Trista Lowman had just arrived home with her daughter when she noticed the SUV stopped on the street near her house. She slowly unloaded groceries as she overheard the deputy telling a man in the car to get out. She heard gunshots and crouched. She saw smoke. She ran over to see if someone was hurt. She saw Pill. She called 9-1-1.
Deputy Victor Velez described how he found Pill when he arrived.
“I tried to touch her to see if there was a response. She was laying on her back with her hands thrown back. Her eyes were wide open, she was looking at the sky. She was gasping.”
He could tell from the gunshot wound to her head that there was not much he could do.
The testimony of two of the witnesses the state called could show that Bradley’s actions were premeditated, according to Melbourne Defense Attorney Kepler Funk.
The state called a man who said during the shooting, he was on the phone with Andria Kerchner, who was riding in the passenger seat. Jeffrey Dieguez said he had been friends with Kerchner for about a year. He heard them being pulled over. He heard a man he identified as her boyfriend ask for a gun and say he would kill the deputy because he didn’t want to go to prison. He said Kerchner pleaded with him.
“Baby please stop, you don’t need to do this, you don’t need to do this,” Dieguez said he overheard. “I heard what to me was gunshots: pop, pop, pop.”
The defense cross-examined Dieguez fiercely, getting him to agree that he previously couldn’t identify the male voice on the phone. Dieguez said he is disabled and takes about 18 pills a day, some of which are narcotic medications. He said he couldn’t remember all the names of the medications he was on that day. He said the medications “sometimes” affect his memory.
The defense pressed him about his recollection of hearing a siren. He said he wasn’t sure what he told the police the first time they spoke to him.
“If I’m not mistaken, I had just been stabbed and was in Palm Bay hospital.”
They asked him about his prior convictions: two counts of selling cocaine, robbery, unauthorized reception of cable TV.
The last witness of the day was Andria Kerchner, who appeared with the word “sucio” written between two stars on the collar of her shirt. That’s a Spanish word that translates to “dirty.”
She testified that she and Bradley stole “stupid stuff” from a motel before fleeing. Pill stopped their car. Bradley said he didn’t want to go back to prison and would shoot at police. She said he shot Pill.
She said she lied to police in the past. She said she lied because she was scared, she didn’t want Bradley to go to jail, and she didn’t want to be a snitch.
The defense pointed out that she and Bradley were on a lot of drugs — codeine, Xanax, marijuana. She said “intoxicated” wouldn’t be the right word to capture just how drugged they were.