Victim recounts shooting episode
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 13, 2011
By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY — Tiffany Barbee, a woman who was shot in the wrist/arm area the night Billy Tommy Elmore was killed, told the court Monday she heard a gunshot after she’d gotten into her car.
Robert Douglas Earnhardt, Elmore’s stepson, is on trial for first-degree murder in Elmore’s death.
Barbee, who is now married to Elmore’s son, Brian Maynor, told the court Monday she’d driven Elmore to 165 Leisure Lane on Sept. 17, 2009, where he was going to feed his dog.
A week before his death, Barbee and her then boyfriend, Brian Maynor, moved Elmore out of the home, which Billy Elmore shared with his estranged wife, Patty Kesler Earnhardt Elmore.
Shortly before his death, Billy Elmore was living in Statesville with Barbee and Maynor, who weren’t allowed to have dogs.
Prior to Monday, witnesses have said Barbee believed she was shot by Patty Elmore.
Investigators at the time of the incident said Patty Elmore used a chain from a chainsaw attached to a rope to strike Barbee.
Patty Elmore, who is not on trial, was charged in October 2009 with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.
Barbee had wounds that indicated she was struck with the chain and shot with a gun.
Robert Earnhardt is also on trial for assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury in the shooting of Barbee, authorities said.
Patty Elmore’s case has not gone to court.
Barbee said when she got out of her car, Patty Elmore came up to her, yelled and cursed at her to leave.
Barbee was trying to get to where Billy was, but the only person she saw was Patty Elmore.
Barbee said she was then hit with something.
“At the time I didn’t know what I was hit with,” Barbee said.
Barbee said she felt immediate pain in her left hand. She jumped back into her vehicle and intended to drive for help.
Barbee said while she was in her car, she heard a gunshot.
“Billy got out to feed his dog and I never seen him again,” Barbee said wiping away at tears.
Barbee drove herself to Tamarac Marina on Bringle Ferry Road, just a few minutes away from Leisure Lane.
She was in considerable pain, Barbee said, but drove a short distance to Tamarac Marina.
“I felt I was going in and out. I was dizzy,” Barbee testified.
She was bleeding profusely and was apparently going in and out of consciousness.
“I just thought I was going to die,” Barbee said.
Barbee recalled going into Tamarac Marina and different people coming to her aid.
She also remembered being placed on a stretcher and into a waiting ambulance, but she didn’t recall being at Carolinas Medical Center.
Barbee knew she was airlifted to the Charlotte hospital, but didn’t remember what happened once she arrived.
She stayed at the hospital for about two weeks while surgeons reconstructed her left hand.
Barbee said she’s had at least six surgeries. She has metal rods in her hand and arm as well as a bone graft.
Her last surgery was two months ago, in October.
Barbee does not have use of her hand. She has nerve damage. She can’t extend her fingers nor can she make a fist, Barbee told the court.
“I can’t tie my son’s shoes. I can’t put his clothes on,” Barbee said.
She can drive, but has to make adjustments, like use her right hand to apply her turn signal, she said on the stand.
“Every day I have severe pain,” she said.
Barbee was asked to walk in front of jurors to show them her injured hand and her other hand.
Jay White, the defense attorney for Robert Douglas Earnhardt, tried to discredit Barbee, citing her previous convictions and pending court matters.
She’d had driving infractions including not having a license and driving while license revoked as well as an order for arrest.
Barbee said she was not aware she had an order for her arrest pending.
Jurors were asked to leave while the attorneys discussed Barbee’s unrelated court matters.
White alluded to a deal being made between Barbee and the Rowan District Attorney’s Office because a warrant for Barbee’s arrest had not been served.
Rowan District Attorney Brandy Cook said her office is not responsible for serving warrants.
Barbee said she did not have any concessions made for her, nor did she have any deals with the District Attorney’s Office.
Judge Kevin Bridges did not allow the defense attorney to bring up Barbee’s other court matters in an effort to discredit her.
White asked Barbee where she was working prior to being injured.
Barbee said she was a dancer.
“So you were a topless dancer,” White asked.
Rowan District Attorney Brandy Cook objected to the remark.
White rephrased the question, to which Barbee replied she danced at a gentleman’s club.
Barbee addressed a question of medications she may have been taking.
She told the court she takes Klonapin for anxiety and that she was also on methadone. Barbee said she’d been going to a clinic for a prior opiate addiction.
Jurors watched another crime scene video Monday morning.
The video, which was recorded by Rowan County Sheriff’s Detective Tracy Misenheimer, was of the crime scene at Tamarac Marina.
Last week jurors watched a surveillance video from Tamarac Marina store as well as a video taken at the Leisure Lane incident by Sheriff’s Detective David Earnhardt.
The trial resumes today at 9:30 a.m.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.