2017-09-28 / Front Page

Gamble trial opens with witness testimony

Davison, Goodrich joggers describe encounters with suspect

By Paula K. Schmidt

810-452-2647 • pschmidt@mihomepaper.com

 

FLINT – Charles Gamble, accused of attacks on women in both Goodrich and Davison last year, faced his accusers in court this week, starting with the prosecutor in this case, Janet Lea McLaren, Special Assistant Attorney General.

In her opening statements McLaren explained to the jury they would hear testimony from both witnesses and evidence experts, including DNA evidence which she believed would prove Gamble’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

She intimated that Gamble, who she said, was not a small man, chose women to ambush them. The defense attorney, Robin Wheaton advised the jury in his opening statements they would have to determine the facts based on the evidence and decide if a crime was committed and what that was. He adjured them to not make a determination prior to all the evidence coming in.

He also stated that just because police and experts testify—doesn't mean what they say is true—but the supporting evidence makes it true.

The Goodrich victim appeared to be composed, although tearful at times during her testimony of the actual attack. She testified to being at the track near Goodrich Middle School and that she and her then 7-year-old son chose to run on the track while her daughter played on some fitness equipment nearby.

She stated they went to the trail about 5:30 p.m. and it was something they did often together. She added she had run there dozens of times and felt it was safe because it was school property and had noted nothing unusual during her approach to the area or during the warm-up to her run but that shortly after she ran into the wooded area of the track, she ran into Gamble hard enough to knock her to the ground on her back at which point he began hitting her on both sides of her head.

She added she attempted to fight back but her legs were too short to reach him and when she tried to sit up and reach him with her arms, he knocked her down again. She remembers screaming and knew her son was just a short distance behind her.

Based on her son’s testimony, Gamble appears to have stopped hitting her as the child yelled at him; at which point he turned around running toward the boy, purposefully shoved him and continued on towards a nearby parking area.

The woman then got up and said she grabbed her son and ran toward her daughter who was halfway through the practice field as she had heard her mom screaming. They then together ran to her vehicle where her cell phone was and she called 911.

Additionally, she described that she was bleeding heavily from her nose and above left ear and her scalp on the right side of head. She received stitches to scalp wounds on both sides of her head, as well as a follow-up surgery when it was found that a nasal bone was chipped.

Wheaton initially objected to photographs of her injuries stating they may ‘inflame’ the jury but was overruled by Judge Archie Hayman who stated they are certainly relevant and the photos can't make it look worse than what it was.

Her son also described seeing a man ‘crawling’ through the woods before he “jumped out and started punching my mom.” He described, “It was a hard punch, she started screaming.” He was however unable to positively identify the defendant who appears to have had his back to him during the attack.

He stated he does have nightmares or dreams and worries that it could happen again and was worried about testifying today that he might be hurt that (the man) would come up and try to keep him from talking.

A young woman who was attacked on a trail in Jack Abernathy park, who also testified to a similar incident. In her case, she saw a person she believes was the suspect in a vehicle matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle parked in the parking are where she left her car.

She described her route on the trail up to the point where she believes she was attacked by the suspect. She said she regained consciousness and noted she was on her stomach looking at her sunglasses, and that the left lens was popped out.

The woman admitted to being confused and disoriented and the next thing she knew she was in her car and knew she wanted to lock the doors and was trying to call 911 but didn't realize she was on the password screen of her phone. The next thing she remembers is parking at home and that she wanted to get her wallet out of the glove box so she got out and walked around to that side of the car but couldn’t remember what she was going to do.

At that time a neighbor approached her and she got her wallet when she did remember what she was doing, and she told her that she thought she was hurt and the neighbor took her to Hurley. She was then evaluated and diagnosed with an apparent severe concussion and observed overnight. She admitted as time went on her memory became clearer and it was while she was in the trauma bay that she remembered being knocked out by the suspect.

A detective with the Michigan State Police and two additional police officers from the city of Davison provided additional testimony before the end of the day. A surprise was provided in that another woman had come forward since the initial attack on Sept. 26 in Davison and told police the following day, Sept. 27, 2016 at about 5:30 p.m. she came across a man she identified as Gamble on the same trail.

She described coming around a corner and seeing him standing in the middle of the trail, rocking side to side, with his hands in a hooded sweatshirt front pouch. She said the sight of him startled her so much she stopped and ripped her earbuds out of her ears and almost turned and ran the other way.

She then walked forward and smiled at him, “because that’s what you do on the trail” and stated “he just glared at me”. Even though she was nervous she said as she got closer she smiled again and then went around him to the side off the trail and as soon as she was past him, ran as fast as she could to the neighboring subdivision.

Testimony should resume tomorrow at 9 a.m.

 

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