Defense witnesses testify on abuse, manipulation in Georgie Hand trial
CPW officer testifies on hostage situation, struggle and shooting
April 5, 2016
Friends and family members took the stand Tuesday in defense of a Mississippi woman who allegedly held two law enforcement officers at gunpoint last year.
Georgie Hand, 44, is on trial after she and her ex-husband, James Brent Damon, allegedly held Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer Nathan Martinez and Moffat County Sheriff Deputy Bhrent Shock at gunpoint near Dinosaur National Monument in Moffat County on March 9, 2015.
Damon was killed in the encounter after officers took control of the situation. Hand was apprehended and faces several charges, including second-degree kidnapping, aggravated robbery and disarming a peace officer.
In opening statements, defense counsel told the jury they would hear testimony about Damon's violent tendencies and how he allegedly abused and controlled Hand.
On Tuesday, Hand's attorneys followed through on that promise, but before the defense presented witnesses Tuesday, the state put Martinez in front of jurors for testimony Monday.
Martinez recounted the events of March 9, 2015, and how he was feeling at the time.
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Martinez testified when Damon put a gun in his face, he feared for his life. Hand also had a gun pointed at him, he said.
Despite being on his knees with a gun to his head, Martinez said he was not going out without a fight.
"I remember just saying in my head, 'go,'" he said.
A struggle was initiated by Martinez and Shock quickly joined. At the end of the fight, Damon was dead from a gunshot to the head.
Martinez was the one who fired the fatal shot, and he became especially emotional upon recalling that specific event in court, covering his face with his hands and taking a moment to recover.
Throughout the trial, members of CPW and Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume have been present to support their colleagues.
Additional testimony on behalf of the defense included a pharmacological expert from Steamboat Springs, who spoke on the effects of methamphetamine.
Damon had 1,000 nanograms per milliliter of methamphetamine and 86 nanograms of amphetamines in his blood, revealed an autopsy report, and Hand admitted to using methamphetamine with him.
On Tuesday, defense called several witnesses to paint a picture of the alleged abuse.
Testimony from a former employer, Hand's sister, one of Hand's sons and Hand herself provided gruesome testimony into the defendant's relationship with Damon.
Carolyn Whitt, who operates a bonding agency in Moss Point, Mississippi, where Hand was formerly employed, was the first to speak about the relationship.
She said that when Hand and Damon were living in her residence, she witnessed Damon physically and verbally abuse Hand.
Whitt also testified she fired Hand on three separate occasions because of Damon's presence.
At some point about 2011, while Damon was incarcerated in Mississippi, Whitt said she helped Hand divorce Damon — which resulted in a threat.
"He told me that I shouldn't have never helped her and that I would be sorry that I did," Whitt said.
Hand's sister, Rebecca Hand, provided similar background on the history of abuse her sister experienced by Damon.
A phone message Damon left on Rebecca Hand's phone was played for the court to offer context.
"You do not want me for an enemy," Damon said in the message.
Rebecca Hand also testified Damon allegedly had ties to the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist prison gang, and bragged about killing men to gain rank in the organization.
His gang ties were constantly used to intimidate Hand and her family, Rebecca Hand said.
Georgie Hand's oldest of two sons, Rodney Calary, 19, was called to the stand after Rebecca Hand.
Calary, who lives in Mississippi, told the jury he had witnessed Damon abuse his mother but did not understand what was really happening, due to his young age at the time.
"I didn't think it was anything big," he said. "I always thought it was adult stuff."
On one occasion when Calary was 12, he recounted he tried to intervene after seeing Damon "jolt" at his mother.
"I grabbed my baseball bat, and I walked in there," he said. "(Damon) grabbed me with one hand, grabbed the bat with the other, threw me into a corner and started hitting me with the bat."
When Georgie Hand took the stand after her son, she testified that she threw herself at Damon in attempt to protect her boy.
"Told him if he wanted to hit someone with a bat, hit me," she said.
Georgie Hand's witnesses also gave testimony about Damon abusing animals, including the time he threw a kitten onto concrete — killing the animal — for defecating in their camping tent.
The most emotional testimony of the day came when Georgie Hand recalled the abuse she was allegedly subjected to by Damon.
She recalled alleged pistol-whipping for talking back, getting restrained and injected with methamphetamine and being tied to a bed and allegedly raped by Damon's gang brothers on two occasions.
"His way or no way," Georgie Hand said.
The state will cross-examine her today and closing arguments are expected today as well.
The jury will then deliberate.