Correction: Samuelson was final witness. We regret error.
MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson’s third witness of Thursday’s proceedings in the second-degree murder trial for Jamestown man David F. Waggoner provided testimony stating she disposed of the gun used in the shooting of William Michishima on the morning of Jul. 24.
Kimberly Johnston, the longtime companion of Waggoner, stated that she briefly disposed of two guns at a separate location, an action that correlates with what Swanson said during his opening statement Wednesday. Johnston said, during her testimony, that she was testifying for the prosecution as part of an agreement allowing her to plead guilty to a charge of evidence tampering for the testimony, a reduction from what she could’ve faced.
Johnston said that, the first time she saw Waggoner following the shooting, he told her to “take them away (the guns).” Prior to the shooting, Johnston testified that Waggoner took the two firearms from their bedroom when attempting to get Michishima to leave. Johnston said that Michishima refused to leave.
Johnston said that she put the guns under a towel before disposing them. On the way back to Livingston Avenue, she said she bought a coffee. Johnston said that she was questioned at the Ellicott Police Department headquarters by Jamestown Police Department Detective Rex Goot later that morning.
Johnston was cross-examined by Public Defender Ned Barone, who is representing Waggoner. During cross-examination, Johnston testified that she knew Michishima for a month-and-a-half prior to the shooting. During that time, Johnston said that she started worrying about the safety of herself, Waggoner, and her daughter and grandson, who Johnston said Waggoner considers his own daughter and grandson.
Earlier in the afternoon, body cam footage lasting several minutes showed Waggoner calling Michishima “whack.” In the body cam footage, which was displayed to the court during testimony from JPD officer Meghan Bentley, Waggoner was also observed saying, “He (Michishima) had the nerve to go to my fiance’s place of work and sit in a lawn chair until she came to work.”
In addition, Waggoner said in the video that Michishima “fell and hit his head” when a man claimed that “a man” shot Michishima. Jamestown Police Captain Robert Samuelson was also observed in the video questioning Waggoner.
Barone’s cross-examination of Johnston revealed that she works at a Southern Tier Environments for Living (STEL) house located at 628 Prendergast Ave. Johnston testified that Michishima confronted her on Jul. 17, a week prior to the shooting, at work. On Jul. 23, a revolver was discovered in a mailbox at the STEL House, per Johnson.
Johnston said that Michishima threatened to kill her, Waggoner, and their grandson several times unless charges were dropped in the case of the stolen motorcycle prior to the shooting. Waggoner installed security cameras because he also felt threatened by Michishima, according to Johnston.
During her testimony, Johnston said that she noticed that someone tried to set a fire on her and Waggoner’s back porch. Barone asked who she thought tried to set the fire, but quickly withdrew the question. However, Johnston answered “Billy” when asked who her and Waggoner had issues with prior to the attempted fire and subsequent shooting.
Goot was the first and only person to testify Thursday morning, as Swanson raised numerous objections of Barone’s cross-examination regarding the relevancy of the questions. Goot said that he interviewed Daryl Ferarro, who Swanson said was one of the witnesses of the alleged altercation that took place prior to the shooting.
Barone asked Goot about a follow-up interview he conducted with Johnston on Jul. 23, approximately a week after she reported the motorcycle registered to her, and primarily operated by Waggoner, stolen. Barone said that Michishima was the one who stole the motorcycle, but Foley ruled in Swanson’s favor, citing that any statement Johnston made to Goot regarding who she thought stole the motorcycle is hearsay.
Swanson, when questioning Goot, attempted to submit into evidence a video of a piece of paper, that was purportedly a motorcycle title, falling out of Waggoner’s clothing when he was being booked into custody. Barone objected, saying the video was “prejudicial,” to the subsequent agreement of Foley.
Because of multiple recesses and sidebar conversations between Barone, Foley and Swanson, Goot’s testimony carried into the first part of the afternoon.
The trial will resume at 9:30 a.m this morning in Chautauqua County Court, with WNYNewsNow in attendance.