Lawyers for Grant Scantling hope to introduce evidence today that he shot a man because the victim was high on methamphetamine and became aggressive with him.
Scantling is trying to claim self-defense in the March 22 death of Franklin Palmer.
He is charged in Benton County Superior Court with aggravated first-degree murder and first-degree burglary.
The trial was on recess Tuesday, but Judge Robert Swisher scheduled a hearing with the attorneys to discuss the legal definitions and instructions that will be given to jurors before they begin deliberations.
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The defense wants the panel to be able to consider a lower charge of second-degree murder.
Prosecutor Andy Miller said the state has called all of its witnesses in the main case.
Lawyer Scott Johnson told the court that he and co-counsel Alexandria Sheridan have maybe a few witnesses. The decision to put Scantling on the stand will depend on Swisher's rulings on potential evidence and jury instructions.
A state toxicologist is on their list to tell jurors that Palmer had a high level of meth in his blood system when he was shot three times inside a Kennewick home.
Dr. Carl Wigren, the forensic pathologist who did Palmer's autopsy, previously testified that tests showed Palmer had meth and amphetamines in his system.
Johnson said it was "not a therapeutic level of meth" and is hoping that Swisher will allow the defense to further ask the toxicologist what kind of effects that would have on the user.
Miller questioned the relevance and said he's not aware of any studies or evidence that shows how a person may react to meth at a certain level in the body.
Swisher said the testimony presented so far is that neither Palmer nor eyewitness Michael Billado fully entered the bedroom when Scantling turned and shot. He questioned how Palmer could have been aggressive with Scantling, forcing him to fire the gun in self-defense.
Scantling is accused of throwing a cinderblock through the sliding glass door of his former fiancee's home, threatening Ann Marie Krebs while she was in bed with her three kids, then shooting Palmer as the two men tried to come to Krebs' aid. Palmer, 24, fell into an open linen closet in the hallway.
Johnson argued there's been no evidence yet of what may have happened between Palmer and Scantling after Billado ran out the front door. He further said the court can't determine that his client wasn't defending himself until it has heard all of the evidence.
Testimony is set to resume at 11 a.m. today in the Benton County Justice Center.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer