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Pender murder trial opens

BY CORIANNE EGAN cegan@paducahsun.com

BARDWELL - The prosecution moved quickly Monday in the first day of testimony in the Carlisle County murder trial of Jay Pender.

Pender is charged with murder in connection with a June 14 altercation with his brother-in-law, Scott D. McBride, that resulted in McBride's death from multiple gunshot wounds. Kentucky State Police didn't charge Pender with murder at the time because they could not determine if the shooting was intentional. A Carlisle County grand jury indicted Pender a week later.

Pender told police that he and McBride had been feuding for more than 20 years, and the shooting was the culmination of many altercations. However, the argument that night started over tree limbs and repairs. Pender told police he was angry that McBride was pouring concrete in holes on Pender's  driveway.

Detective Kyle Nall, who was in charge of the investigation, told the jury Pender said McBride had later sprayed him with a water hose, then charged him while swinging an ax handle. Pender shot McBride twice. Pender told detectives he pulled the gun out of his back pocket after McBride began to swing at him with the ax handle.

While the prosecution asserts the shooting was in cold blood, Pender's attorney Bryan Wilson has contended that the shooting was in self defense.

A separate prosecution witness, McBride's father, Arthur McBride, told police that Pender told him he was going to deal with McBride and had "no problem going to the pen." Pender also reportedly told detectives he was not in fear of his life at the time of the shooting, but that he was not going to allow anyone to get that close to him.

Nall said Pender told detectives that McBride had already threatened him with the ax handle, and he had told McBride to swing it and see what happened as a result.

The majority of the state's eight other witnesses called Monday afternoon were investigators or forensic analysts, concentrating on the ins-and-outs of scientific evidence. The jury was shown pictures of McBride's body several times. The jury also saw surveillance video from Pender's home, which showed him and McBride interacting but not the shooting.

Dr. Jeffrey Springer, a state medical examiner in Louisville, said the primary cause of McBride's death was two gunshot wounds, one that entered through the left arm and re-entered through McBride's head and a second that went in through the torso and traveled through the body.

Springer noted that both bullets' trajectories were consistent with a shooter being crouched or lying on the ground, although he did concede there are several other angles the shots could have come from.

Toxicology on McBride's body revealed he had marijuana in his body at his death. Tests on Pender at the scene showed he had a blood alcohol content of .095. The legal limit for driving is .080.

Commonwealth Attorney Mike Stacy's witnesses included state police forensic scientist David Clem, who told the jury of gunshot residue kits he performed on Pender and on two women, Crystal Dowdy and Laura Pender, who were also at the scene of the shooting. Laura Pender is the wife of the defendant.

The residue kits showed residue on all three. The residue can be a result of firing a gun, but also can be present if someone was near a firearm being fired or handled a gun that was fired, Clem said.

Stacy also called state police forensic firearm analyst Detective Scott Doyle, who testified that he did not find gun powder residue on Scott McBride's clothing, mostly because of McBride's clothes being soaked in blood. There was no definitive way to show how far the gun was from McBride when he was shot, Doyle said.

Stacy rested his case late Monday afternoon. The trial resumes at 9 a.m. today with witnesses for the defense.

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.

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