Barone Attempts To Prove Michishima Was An Initial Aggressor In Waggoner Murder Trial

Livingston Avenue murder suspect David Waggoner appears in court. 03/21/19. Image by Matt Hummel/WNYNewsNow.

MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Public Defender Ned Barone called multiple witnesses to the stand Thursday in an attempt to prove that William Michishima was the initial aggressor in the second-degree murder case against David F. Waggoner.

Town of Ellery man Dennis Harvey was one of the witnesses Barone called. Harvey testified that he knew both Michishima and Waggoner.

Harvey said that he belongs to Brothers By Choice, a social motorcycle club that performs charitable benefits. According to Harvey, Michishima was a member of the club at one point.

Last June, Harvey testified that Michishima “wanted to kick my ass” after acknowledging to Michishima that the club wasn’t a “one-percent club.” Harvey stated that Michishima expressed his desire to join such club.

Harvey said the verbal altercation occurred during a meeting, but when cross-examined by Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson, he confirmed a physical fight never took place when Michishima called for the two to fight outside of the club.

Harvey additionally testified that he told Waggoner of the events a few weeks after.

April Nelson, a long time friend of Michishima, also took the stand. Nelson testified that, the morning of the shooting, Michishima came to her house at 8:30 a.m. to talk. Nelson said that he appeared “nervous” and that he said, “I really messed up this time,” before leaving shortly before 9.

Detective Melissa Yerpe and road patrolman Tyler Taylor, both of the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, recalled their separate roles in the investigation of a stolen motorcycle.

Taylor testified that he, along with Seneca Marshalls, located Michishima after responding to a call for a camper, car and motorcycle being on fire. Michishima was reportedly taken to UPMC for treatment.

Yerpe testified that she handled the follow-up investigation. According to Yerpe, she was able to determine that the bike was stolen. Yerpe additionally testified that she was able to speak with the motorcycle’s registered owner, Kimberly Johnston, who said she wanted to press charges against the “possible suspect,” William Michishima.

Two people weren’t allowed to testify in front of the jury after Barone offered them to Judge David Foley as “offers of proof.”

A former neighbor of Michishima, Colin Gibbs, and a UPMC RN Case Manager, Jennifer Devon, both testified about alleged events that occurred before and after the Jul. 24 shooting, respectively. Swanson and First Assistant District Attorney Michael Flaherty, repeatedly, objected based on relevance.

Court will resume Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. in Chautauqua County Court.

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