Emotional Testimony in Abdullah Trial

April 1, 2008 7:43:29 PM PDT
A Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy described his efforts to save a fellow officer Tuesday, as accused killer Ramadan Abdullah sat nearby. Ramadan Abdullah is on trial for the murder of Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy Erik Telen back in 2001.Helicopter pilot Jim Lail and slain deputy Erik Telen's mother were both crying as the pilot described coming under fire while trying to save Telen's life. Lail told jurors, "The kitchen, everything started falling off the shelves on top of us from gunfire. I kept trying to pull him but he was very big. I couldn't pull him." Lail says he shot back with one hand, as he tried to pull Telen's body with the other.

Earlier in the afternoon, former Dunlap resident Robert Champlin described his encounter with Abdullah. Champlin said he came home to find Abdullah in a tree house on his property. Champlin testified the situation made him uneasy. "He didn't really threaten me in any way, other than I had a fear of maybe, as I was talking to him it seemed like he was trying to get closer to me all the time. It was a fear I had," said Champlin. Champlin testified Abdullah left and eventually ended up at his neighbor's house. That's where Deputy Erik Telen was gunned down with one of the homeowner's guns.

Prosecutor Dennis Peterson showed the homeowner the gun, asking him to see if he recognized it. Robert Gregory replied, "I recognized it right away, the knicks and stuff, I remember." Gregory told jurors he returned home to a house riddled with bullets. He told jurors guns had been taken out of his gun cabinet. One was found in closet, another behind a cast iron stove in the living room. Three religious figurines and a bible were also found there. Gregory told jurors they weren't there when he left the home earlier that day.

Abdullah's defense claims he was insane at the time of the shooting, but one of the detectives who interviewed him shortly after his arrest testified he made no mention of being delusional at that time. A toxicologist also took the stand Tuesday. He told jurors Abdullah had marijuana in his system when he was taken into custody.


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