Testimony recounts events following shooting in Earnhardt trial
By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY — Jurors in the Robert Earnhardt first-degree murder trial listened in court Thursday to a frenzied 911 call recorded just a few miles from where Billy Elmore was fatally shot.
Earnhardt is on trial for the shooting and killing of Elmore, which occurred Sept. 17, 2009, at 165 Leisure Lane.
Thursday was the third day of what is expected to be a two-week trial.
Tiffany Marie Barbee, who had driven Elmore to Leisure Lane, was also shot in the wrist and hand.
Barbee is the girlfriend of Billy Elmore’s son and she had driven him to the Leisure Lane home, from which he’d recently moved, to get his dog.
After being shot, Barbee drove her white Ford Explorer to Tamarac Marina on Bringle Ferry Road.
Jo Black, co-owner of Tamarac Marina with her husband Dan, testified in court about her conversation with 911 dispatchers, who gave her instructions on how to render aid to Barbee.
Black testified that her husband was out of town when the incident occurred. She held the door while Barbee walked in bleeding heavily.
Barbee went to the bathroom and Black called 911.
Jurors listened to that 911 call during which Black went back and forth between the bathroom and the parking lot to await emergency personnel.
Black began asking Barbee questions at the dispatcher’s request. Barbee told Black she’d been shot by Patty Elmore, the estranged wife of victim Billy Tommy Elmore.
Patty Elmore, who is not on trial, was charged in October 2009 with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Investigators said at the time that Patty Elmore used a chain from a chainsaw attached to a rope to strike Barbee.
Barbee had wounds that indicated she was struck with the chain and suffered a gunshot wound.
Earnhardt is also on trial for assault with a deadly weapon for inflicting serious injury in the shooting of Barbee, authorities said.
Patty Elmore’s case has not gone to court.
Black could be heard on the tape telling a screaming, crying Barbee she wasn’t going to die.
“She’s coherent, but in a lot of pain,” Black told the 911 dispatcher.
Assistant District Attorney Barrett Poppler showed Black a surveillance video recorded at Tamarac Marina that day.
Black said she provided officers with a copy of the video, which had no audio.
The video was played in court while Black narrated. She identified for the jurors the people who came into the restaurant and provided aid to Barbee.
Customer Ellen Muller, who Black said was a nurse and whom Black believed to be associated with Pooletown Volunteer Fire Department, had yellow police tape. The two women blocked off Barbee’s vehicle, which was still in the parking lot behind Black’s vehicle.
Thursday’s testimony continued with Robert Earnhardt’s attorney, Jay White, going over Black’s statement to law enforcement. The attorney did not complete his line of questions before the day was done.
The day’s testimony began with Rowan County Sheriff’s Detective David Earnhardt explaining crime scene photos taken the night of the shooting.
In his testimony, Detective Earnhardt told the court he took photos of what he believed to be blood, bone fragments and brain tissue at the scene.
White, the Concord attorney representing Robert Earnhardt, objected throughout the detective’s testimony because of what he cited as the detective’s lack of expertise.
Rowan District Attorney Brandy Cook asked the detective how many cases he has handled that involved blood, bone and tissue matter. David Earnhardt told the court he’d responded to at least 30 to 40 cases where he’d identified brain tissue and a couple of hundred where blood was involved.
Although the blood was not submitted to the SBI for testing, the shotgun shells were, the detective told the court.
White asked the detective if he used Luminol to test for blood. Detective Earnhardt said the Sheriff’s Office does not use the chemical, which reveals seemingly invisible traces of blood.
The Concord attorney then asked if the detective used Hemastix to determine traces of blood. The detective said he did not.
If there is blood present, the Hemastix strip changes color when water is applied.
The trial resumes at 9:30 a.m. today.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.
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