Testimony begins in trial of man accused of auto manslaughter

March 24, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

James Gregory Martin was out "to get even" with his life-long friend "Hot Shot" when the two collided in a December 1992 traffic accident that claimed the lives of two people, witnesses testified yesterday on the opening day of Mr. Martin's automobile manslaughter trial.

"Greg said he was going to get even, he was going to get even by running Hot Shot off the road," said Randy Stonesifer, a 21-year-old New Windsor man whose brother Andy was one of the two people killed in the Dec. 12 wreck. "That's his exact words."

Mr. Stonesifer was describing Mr. Martin's reaction to a defamatory comment made about him by Hot Shot -- Carroll Lynn Schisler Jr. -- at a party the night before the accident. "When he said that statement, he said it with a real deep voice, like he was angry," Mr. Stonesifer said of the defendant.

Mr. Martin, 21, of New Windsor, is on trial on charges that stem from a head-on collision that claimed the lives of Gary Schisler, 25, and Andy Stonesifer, 18, both of New Windsor.

Prosecutors allege that a pickup truck driven by Mr. Martin ran into another pickup on Route 407. The driver of the other pickup, Carroll Lynn Schisler Jr., Gary Schisler's brother, and Mr. Martin were injured in the accident.

The men who were killed were passengers in Mr. Martin's truck.

According to court records and police reports, Mr. Martin allegedly drove into the path of Mr. Schisler's truck, which was towing a livestock trailer. Mr. Schisler was unable to get out of the way before the crash, court records say.

On the witness stand yesterday, Carroll Schisler Jr. said he tried to avoid Mr. Martin's pickup, but could not. "I didn't cross the yellow line," he told the jury of eight men and four women. "He never went back into his lane."

Defense attorney Russell J. White said in his opening statement yesterday that Mr. Martin has no memory of the accident and that he certainly didn't intend to crash into Mr. Schisler's truck that morning.

Prosecutors claimed that Mr. Martin was upset at Carroll Schisler Jr. the night before and that he wanted to run Mr. Schisler and his cattle truck off the road.

The trial continues today in Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold's courtroom.

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