Detective takes stand in Jamestown murder trial
MAYVILLE — “I heard arguing and then a, not a pop, but a bang,” said Kimberly Johnston recalling the events of July 24, 2018, when she took the stand to testify in David F. Waggoner’s second-degree murder trial.
Waggoner, 54, is accused of shooting William J. Michishima, 30, at 114 Livingston Ave. in Jamestown last summer. Michishima was taken to an Erie, Pa., hospital where he died the following day.
The first day of the trial began Wednesday with opening statements and accounts from four witnesses. Four more witnesses were heard on Thursday.
Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson is handling the prosecution of the case, which is taking place in front of County Court Judge David Foley.
Waggoner is represented by Chautauqua County Public Defender Ned Barone.
Swanson’s statement outlined the day of the shooting implicating Waggoner for the murder of Michishima while Barone focused on prior events leading up to the July 24 shooting. Barone’s statement emphasized that the defendant “chose not to be a victim” during his statements on opening day and indicated that his actions were justified.
Johnston, long-time girlfriend of Waggoner’s and resident of 114 Livingston Ave., was called to the stand by the prosecution to recall the events of July 24, as she remembered them.
She remembered being woken up by her 6-year old grandson, at the time, to alert her that Michishima was allegedly attempting to enter the home. Johnston said Waggoner yelled to Michishima from the upstairs window directing him to leave.
Once Waggoner left the house, Johnston said she lost a clear line of sight of the two individuals and did not physically see how the events unfolded. She did however hear the gunshot.
She recalled Waggoner entering the home again to tell her to dispose of the weapon in question and an additional weapon. She wrapped the firearms in a towel and later hid them off the roadway on Bailey Street. She would later show the Jamestown Police Department with assistance from the Ellicott Police Department where she disposed of the weapons.
During cross examination by the defense, Johnston admitted being afraid for the safety of herself, Waggoner and her grandson.
According to testimony, Johnston reported her Harley Davidson motorcycle stolen around July 16. It was revealed the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Department had discovered the motorcycle at Bear Claw Camp near Salamanca. The motorcycle had been burned. The sheriff’s told Johnston that Michishima was a suspect and were planning to bring charges against him, according to her testimony.
On July 23, Detective Rex Goot followed up regarding the stolen vehicle. Johnston said she made the police aware of additional threats made by Michishima toward her family that included him allegedly attempting to start a fire outside her home and threatening to kill her entire family. She also testified that Michishima had even appeared out front of her work sitting on a fold-out chair days before the shooting occurred. Additionally, a firearm was found in her work’s mailbox on July 23. The alleged incidents were not elaborated on any further.
It was revealed during Johnston’s testimony that she is receiving a reduced charge from the prosecution for tampering with evidence if she testified truthfully in the Waggoner trial. Her attorney Paul Webb was present in the courtroom. According to testimony, Johnston wasn’t entirely truthful with the police at first following the shooting.
During the trial Thursday, based on body camera footage from JPD officer Meghan Bentley the jury observed the scene of the shooting shortly after it occurred. On the video, Waggoner can be heard discussing how Michishima was injured.
Waggoner can be heard denying shooting Michishima and maintained the deceased was injured by a fall. Waggoner repeatedly told police that Michishima was “whacked out” and called him a “nuisance.”
JPD Capt. Bob Samuelson took the stand before the trial was adjourned until today. Samuelson detailed his involvement in the case. He rode with Johnston when the weapons were discovered. He also conducted Waggoner’s interview at JPD headquarters.
The JPD video of Waggoner’s interview is anticipated to be shown today when court resumes at 9:30 a.m. A portion of the video was edited out to not show Waggoner invoking his right to a lawyer to avoid any prejudicial impression on the jury. However, the defense wanted the inclusion of Waggoner’s request for an attorney. A different version of the video is expected to be played for the jury.
During one of the recesses, Foley acknowledged that the motorcycle allegedly stolen by Michishima and the motorcycle parked outside 114 Livingston Ave. on the day of the shooting are major factors in the case.