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Defendant testifies that shooting was self-defense
Closing arguments in Dawson County murder trial Friday
I-Murder trial Seppenfield mug
Seppenfield

The attorney for the Dawson County man accused in the shooting death of a popular little league coach in 2014 wasted no time with small talk Thursday afternoon when his client took the stand.

"Did you murder Brandon Weaver?" Defense Attorney Richard Stepp asked Herman James "Bo" Seppenfield, who is charged with felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Looking toward the panel of jurors, Seppenfield, replied, "No, I did not."

Stepp then asked, "Did you commit the unauthorized offense of aggravated assault against him?"

The defendant answered with the same four words.

Turning once more to his client, who is on trial for the murder of the 37-year-old Dawsonville father of three, Stepp asked once more, "Did you possess a firearm in the commission of an aggravated assault?"

Again, his response was the same.

After a short pause, Stepp moved closer to the man he has represented for more than a year and quietly asked one more question.

"Did you pull the trigger of the gun that shot, that fired and killed Brandon Weaver?"

Without hesitation, Seppenfield said, "Yes, sir I did."

The state and defense rested their cases late Thursday afternoon, following three full days of testimony in which jurors heard similar, but contrasting memories of what happened the night of Nov. 22, 2014 at 72 Whitney Place in southeastern Dawson County.

Witnesses included deputies and emergency personnel that were first on the scene of the shooting, crime scene and homicide experts, and Seppenfield's adult daughter, who was at home at the time and called 9-1-1 to the house they shared.

The charges stem from an incident in which Seppenfield was awakened from sleep to find a man, later identified as Marty Buice, at his door, demanding to know what had gone on at child's birthday party held there earlier that day that caused his nephew, Weaver's son, to leave the home on foot.

The boy, who testified on Tuesday that he felt uncomfortable about adults at the party drinking and smoking cigars, along with two friends reportedly left the party without notifying any adults. He called home to tell his mom as the trio walked toward his house off Dawson Forest Road.

Weaver's wife, Heather, then drove Buice and her husband to pick up the three boys.

Witness testimony shows they also made a stop back at the party, letting Seppenfield and his girlfriend Elisa Chameli, who hosted the party for her twin daughters, know the three boys had left on their own.

It was hours later that Buice and Weaver returned to the home, where a verbal altercation led to a fight and gunfire.

Seppenfield says the shooting was in self-defense.

"I pointed the gun at him and said, ‘Stop, the police are on the way,'" he said, referring to Weaver. "At that point, I felt like it was him or me. And my family was on the other side of that door."

Also arrested in connection with the fight was 25-year-old Tory Jude Miguez, 25, who was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during a felony crime.

He also lived at the Whitney Place residence and was home when Buice and Weaver, who were unarmed, showed up.

During a calendar call last month, it was confirmed that Miguez's case would not be heard until Seppenfield's trial was complete.

Last September, Superior Court Judge Jason Deal granted a motion filed on behalf of Seppenfield to sever his proceedings from those of Miguez.

During his opening statement to the jury on Tuesday, Stepp said no crime has been committed.

"It's a tragedy, no question. The question you have to ask, the question you have to answer...was Bo justified in the law," he said.

The state says he was not.

"This is about an unarmed victim who was begging for the life of his best friend, of his brother-in-law," Northeastern Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Geller said.

Court resumes at 9 a.m. Friday when each side will be given two hours for their closing arguments.

 

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