Bisard trial has local connections

Bisard trial has local connections

The trial for suspended Indianapolis police officer David Bisard started Wednesday.
 The trial for suspended Indianapolis police officer David Bisard started Wednesday. 

Both sides presented opening statements and 11 witnesses were called to the stand.

Although this case was moved from Marion County to Allen County, there are some very strong Fort Wayne Connections. 

Bisard, the suspended Indianapolis cop is accused of driving his squad car drunk into the back of three motorcyclists killing Eric wells and injuring several others.

“It did make me comfortable in coming to Allen county and placing my trust in the jurors, said Denise Robinson, Lead prosecutor, Marion County. 

Robinson puts a lot of faith in trying Bisard in Allen County, because she used to call the Summit City home. So far, the Northrop High School Grad has used her local knowledge to her advantage. 

“It helps to understand the dynamics when you understand the county, and I believe I do,” said Robinson. 

In an effort to set the scene of the 2010 crash allegedly  involving this David Bisard, Robinson referenced Fort Wayne streets to give the jury a better picture of where the crash happened.

Local defense attorney, Colin Andrews, says as a prosecutor you have an advantage if you can convince the jury that you understand where they're coming from.. 

“The prosecutor on this case did a great job of talking about the geography of Fort Wayne showed a familiarity with Fort Wayne,” said Andrews. 

More witnesses will be called to stand Thursday.   Robinson says along with first responders, the other motorcyclists who were injured are expected to give their testimonies. 

FOX 59-  At 10:45 a.m, three years and two months and ten days after a fatal crash on the northside of Indianapolis, a Metro police officer was the first person called to the stand in the David Bisard trial.


The first witness for the State was IMPD Patrol Officer Shannon Harmon, a north district patrolman who did not regularly alongside Bisard who was assigned to the department's K9 division.


Harmon told jurors that he was dispatched to the vicinity of 42nd Street and Priscilla Avenue on a report of a subject wanted on a felony marijuana warrant.


That man was Terrance Malone.


Harmon testified that he did not activate his lights and sirens and did not find the suspect who was reported in the area on a bicycle.


After a five minute search, Harmon told the jury he heard a report of the Bisard crash.


Harmon said that he was aware the Bisard offered to back up his search for the wanted man. 


With the assistance of lead prosecutor Denise Robinson, Harmon used a pointer and a large map to show jurors the geographical location of the crash site and his approach to the scene after he became aware of the accident.


Harmon said he did not have any contact with Bisard after the crash that killed motorcyclist Eric Wells and injured Kurt Weekly and Mary Mills.


Upon cross examination by defense attorney John Kautzman, Harmon said K9 officers such as Bisard often take a pro-active approach to respond across the city to calls for back up.


Harmon testified that as he responded to the Bisard crash scene he activated his vehicle's lights and sirens and likely exceeded the speed limit to provide traffic control assistance.


"I was trying to get there in a safe manner."


Robinson told jurors in her opening statement that they would be hearing IMPD radio transmission audio tapes of that day.


"His voice was shaken as he called for help," said Harmon, recalling he heard Bisard's radio dispatch calls.


Next jurors heard from Marion County Sheriff's Department radio dispatch supervisor Shelia Beisel who explained to the jury the department's Computer Aided Dispatch, CAD, history of the police response that morning.


Jurors were handed copies of the CAD history of August 6, 2010, as it related to the Bisard crash.


Tapes of 911 calls that day, describing how witness Barbara Belt spotted a victim, "flying through the air," were played for the jury.


Another witness said, "a police car was involved."


The jurors concentrated as they listened to the tapes, following along with the printed logs they were handed.


Aaron Wells, the father of Eric Wells, was emotional listening to the 911 calls.


Bisard's wife and another relative left the courtroom before Robinson told jurors details about the crash and the playing of the tapes.


Witness Jennifer Westfall reported to a 911 dispatcher that, "the officer is not hurt but the motorcycle riders are."


Fox 59 viewers first heard those tapes exclusively in May of 2012.


Beisel was excused and Belt took the stand.


Belt told jurors that as she drove eastbound on 56th Street she spotted the spotlight at Brendon Way South Drive turn red and stopped her car. 


"The light turned green and I started to go through and did see the motorcycles sit there," said Belt as she become emotional recalling the crash. "They were talking to one another and I saw a car and…one of the persons turned this way and shot out….I saw him cartwheeling through the air and hit the pavement on the side of the street.


"I was shocked it was a police car. It happened in front of me," said Belt as she described the flashing lights of Bisard's car. "I never heard a siren.


"It was just there.


"In all honesty it was like slow motion to me. The mind slowed down and it was in slow motion.


"I saw Eric Wells all across the way on Brendon Way."


Belt said she now knows the name of the man killed that day because of a memorial sign erected at the intersection.


"I was shaken so bad I didn't know I could walk over there."


Belt said she then spotted Bisard get out of his wrecked patrol car.


"I saw him get out of the car and kneel down to the man on this side of the street. I just saw him bending over. I don't know what he was doing. He didn't get up from there after he got down on his knee. All I saw was he kept bending over. I had no idea what he was doing."

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