Jury trial enters second day for man accused of killing his friend
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IDAHO FALLS – A jury trial continued on Tuesday for a man who is facing a first-degree murder charge after he allegedly killed his friend who had accused him of having an affair with his girlfriend.
During the hearing, the jury learned more details about the conflict between Marshal Dee Hendricks and his friend Rory Neddo. One of the biggest details to come from the hearing was that then-girlfriend, Jessica Hendricks (formerly Jessica Nielsen), would be testifying Wednesday.
Jessica was reportedly the center of the argument between Marshal and Neddo, whose fight ended in the shooting death of Neddo. She was formerly Neddo’s ex-girlfriend, and is now married to Marshal. Jessica filed a document waiving spousal privilege that would have potentially allowed her to not take the witness stand.
Also during Tuesday’s hearing, witnesses, law-enforcement experts and a forensic pathologist testified about Neddo’s autopsy results, and what qualifies as a reason to use or not use deadly force.
Several law enforcement officers spoke about their interviews with Jessica immediately following the altercation between Marshal and Neddo. She was a witness to the death of Neddo.
The fight that ended Neddo’s life started after he reportedly discovered that Jessica was supposedly cheating on him with Marshal.
Neddo and his brother, Jason Wessells, arrived to the residence that Marshal was at, and Neddo became physically aggressive, reportedly “chest-bumping” Marshal. Marshal allegedly pulled out his gun and pointed it at Neddo to which he responded, “If you’re gonna pull a gun on me, you’re gonna have to use it.”
According to the defense, Neddo reached his hand around his back, and Marshal assumed he was reaching for a gun, at which point he decided to shoot Neddo.
Detective Mike Hammer from the Bonneville County Sheriff’s office testified, and told the jury that between his initial interview with Jessica and the follow-up, her statements and recollection of the altercation changed.
“She was trying to protect Marshal,” Hammer said.
The defense, led by attorney Allen Browning, asked Hammer what Jessica was trying to protect Marshal from, and if it was to protect him from being charged with possessing a firearm as a felon. Hammer responded, “That is one theory.”
The crux of the discussion focused on whether Marshal was justified in using deadly force, based on the aggressiveness of Neddo.
The prosecution, led by attorney Russell Spencer, argued that Marshal had no reason to resort to deadly force in the death of Neddo, as there is no evidence that Neddo had a gun in his possession during the altercation, only brass knuckles.
This was confirmed by Detective Scott Kidwell from the Bonneville County Sheriff’s office, who confirmed that he removed brass knuckles from the back pocket on the body of Neddo at the scene, but did not remove a gun from the body.
The defense argued that Marshal was utilizing self-defense, as Neddo was allegedly high on methamphetamine at the time of the altercation, making it difficult to anticipate potential violence.
Dr. Garth Warren, a forensic pathologist for the Ada County Coroner’s Office that performed the autopsy on Neddo, testified last, stating that Neddo had “fairly high levels of methamphetamine” in his blood, along with traces of marijuana.
“If someone you know takes methamphetamine and are showing violent behavior, that would make sense,” said Dr. Warren. “But the caveat to that, is that if you are a violent person, you could be violent with or without drugs.”
“I can’t say what someone’s behavior is, just based on the toxicology report.”
The trial will continue Wednesday, June 8, at 8:40 a.m.
Marshal is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony, and unlawful possession by a convicted felon.