Murder trial begins Wednesday
FAIRFIELD — The first-degree murder trial of Tyler Webster, 33, of Fairfield began Wednesday with opening statements from the prosecution and defense attorneys.
The jury heard testimony from the state’s first witness, Shelby Hall, 22, of Sparta, Mo., who had been the girlfriend of Buddy Lee Frisbie, 32, when Frisbie was shot and killed Aug. 25 in Jefferson County.
Hall told of meeting Frisbie the first week of July. She was introduced to him through a co-worker, Annette, who is also Frisbie’s sister. The two women worked in a group home for mentally challenged people in Hall’s hometown, Cross Timbers, Mo.
“We started dating and moved in together within a couple of weeks,” said Hall. “When I wasn’t at work, I spent all of my time with Buddy.”
Frisbie has family in both Missouri and Iowa, and the couple visited Fairfield five or six times on weekends, staying in a camping trailer at 2469 Marigold Ave., about three miles southeast of Fairfield.
Hall first met Webster near the end of July and it was normal for the three to spend time together when in Fairfield.
“I took it they were good friends,” said Hall.
Hall’s testimony included details of an incident a few days before Saturday, Aug. 25, as well as activities that day.
“I brought Buddy up to Fairfield Tuesday that week,” said Hall. “He said he was going to be doing some work for an uncle. I had to return to work and left Wednesday. When I got off work Friday, I drove back up to Fairfield, arriving at the camper around 2 a.m. [Aug. 25].”
When the couple woke up, they ran some errands and Frisbie showed Hall around the county some more.
“He got a phone call from Tyler, asking us to go to someone’s house for a party,” said Hall. “Buddy told me he didn’t really want to go, he just wanted to spend time with me that day, so he told Tyler no. But Tyler called again, and asked please go. So Buddy asked if I minded, and I said no, so we went.”
In an opening statement, state prosecuting attorney Denise Timmins had said the couple attended a party in Rome, Iowa, that Saturday afternoon.
Hall said they arrived around 2 p.m. at the party, which she later said was not really a party, but a get-together at someone’s home. Another friend, Doug, who lived in a trailer next to the camper where Frisbie and Hall stayed in Fairfield, accompanied them to the party.
“I knew Doug and Tyler had been drinking, Buddy was drinking, probably had five or six drinks at the party,” Hall said. “Tyler was in a good mood when we arrived, but after about an hour, his mood changed. He seemed depressed. We left after a few hours and Buddy wanted to go fishing, and we planned to take Tyler. But when we returned to the campers, it was raining, so we all went inside; Doug to his own trailer and Buddy, Tyler and I to our camper.
“We were sitting around, trying to get Tyler out of his weird mood. Buddy was joking around,” she said.
She made reference to Frisbie inviting Webster to participate in intimate relations with the two.
“Buddy held my wrist and turned it, and I said ouch, because it sort of hurt but didn’t hurt,” said Hall.
She testified she and Frisbie were sitting together on the couch and Webster was seated close by. She said Frisbie’s remark to Webster and Frisbie grabbing her wrist and letting go was all within a minute or less.
“Tyler gets up and walks out of the camper,” said Hall.
She and Frisbie begin kissing and she had the top half of her body draped across Frisbie, “because I thought Tyler had left,” and she heard the door open.
Since she was facing Frisbie, she noted a change in his demeanor.
“He looked scared,” Hall said about Frisbie.
“I turned to look at the door and Tyler was standing over us with a gun pointed at Buddy,” she said. “He shot Buddy in the head while I sat there. The second shot, I got up and ran out; I went to Doug’s trailer and told him what happened.”
The jury includes six men and six women, plus an alternate female and an alternate male. The Honorable Myron Gookin is hearing the case.
Gookin instructed the jury to keep in mind that the attorneys’ opening, and later, closing statements are not evidence or the law.
“I will instruct you on the law,” Gookin said.