0

Alleged police shooter to testify today

By Linda Looney-Bond

lbond@news-daily.com

The Hampton man on trial in Clayton Superior Court for allegedly shooting a Clayton County police officer -- whose bullet-resistant vest has been credited with saving her life -- is scheduled to take the stand today.

"My client intends to take the stand," Attorney Peter Simmons told Judge Matthew Simmons late Wednesday afternoon. Judge Simmons granted a court recess to allow the defense attorney to confer with his client, Gerald Lewis Benn, 45, on the matter.

Benn is expected to take the stand on his own behalf when court resumes at 9 a.m., today. He is accused of shooting Clayton County Police Officer Yolanda Shumaker, 31, on Feb. 27, when the officer accompanied Benn's fiancee to the couple's home at 1258 Pebble Beach Lane, in Hampton, to pick up belongings, after Benn and the fiancee, Paula Theus, had a dispute earlier in the day.

Benn is also accused of shooting at Theus, as she and her 18-year-old daughter, ran from the couple's home after Benn allegedly shot Shumaker. He then reportedly fled the scene, leading police on a chase, before being arrested.

Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson rested the prosecution's case Wednesday afternoon. Lawson is prosecuting the case along with Paul Garland, deputy chief in the district attorney's office.

Clayton County Police Detective Jeremy Hutto, who investigated the case, testified on behalf of the prosecution Wednesday, and Lawson called Shumaker forward to assist Hutto in a demonstration of the paths the bullets took the night of the shooting.

Standing before the jury, Shumaker wore the yellow rain jacket that she wore the night of the incident.

Hutto pointed to bullet holes in the jacket. "When it passes inside of the rain jacket, it passes through and starts skipping, ripping and cutting across the back of the jacket," Hutto testified. "Kind of like a kid skipping a rock ... that's how the bullet's going across the back," Hutto said.

Following testimony by defense witnesses today, closing arguments are expected to take place, and the jury is expected to get the case, Lawson said.

Benn is being held in the Clayton County Jail.