Testimony ends in murder trial
Testimony concluded on Friday morning in the trial of a Red Bay man accused of murder.
Herschel Dale Graham, 51, 806A 10th St. NE, Red Bay, is accused of murder in the Nov. 3, 2011, shooting death of 42-year-old David Andrasik, of Franklin 11 North in Red Bay.
Graham is accused of shooting and killing Andrasik outside of Graham’s residence, but Graham’s defense attorneys maintain he acted in self-defense.
The shooting was reportedly the result of an altercation that started between Andrasik and Graham’s son, Elijah, who was 17 years old at the time. Herschel Graham allegedly became involved in the altercation later.
Jurors heard from state’s witnesses on Tuesday and Wednesday, including Graham’s longtime neighbors Donald and Sue Self, and Red Bay school teacher Holly Lewey, who happened to drive up on the scene as the incident was taking place.
Donald Self testified he was watching the evening news in the living room of his home across the street from the Grahams’ residence when he heard screeching tires and got up to see what had made the noise.
He said he saw a man get out of the car that was then parked in the middle of the road and walk towards the Grahams’ garage where Elijah Graham and his girlfriend, Cassidy Borden, were sitting in his truck.
“He went up to the window of Elijah’s truck where Elijah’s girlfriend was and tried to talk to her and she started rolling the window up,” Donald Self said.
“I went to the kitchen then but I heard screeching tires. I came out [of the kitchen] and saw Andrasik laying on the ground. I saw him beating on the garage door.”
Donald Self said when Andrasik got up off the ground, he must have noticed Donald Self’s wife, Sue Self, standing at the window because he started coming towards the Selfs’ residence.
“I let him in and I said ‘Can I help you?’ and he just kept saying ‘I need help, I need help’ and nothing else.”
Donald Self said he could smell a strong odor of alcohol on Andrasik and he was swaying from side to side, stumbling and “acting like a drunk.”
Donald Self said since neither he nor his wife could understand what Andrasik was saying, Andrasik left their house.
Donald Self said he followed Andrasik out the door and went to stand on his porch where he saw Andrasik go to his car and pull a brown paper bag from under the driver’s seat and put it in the trunk of the car.
Self said at this point, the Grahams, including Herschel Graham, Elijah Graham, and Herschel Graham’s father, George Graham, were coming down the driveway.
Self said they met about halfway up the driveway and Andrasik and Herschel Graham bumped chests.
“They was all cussing one another,” Donald Self said.
He said he then noticed Herschel Graham go out of sight behind the house.
“When he came back, I saw Herschel’s arm go up and heard a pop and saw [Andrasik] fall like a rock.”
During cross-examination from Oxford attorney Tom Freeland, Self admitted he did hear Graham ask Andrasik to leave their property.
“I do know Herschel asked him to leave three times,” Self said.
Sue Self testified that she never saw any pushing or shoving from Andrasik or Herschel Graham.
Jurors also heard Lewey’s version of events as she saw them from her car, which was pulled up several feet behind Andrasik’s vehicle, which was blocking the road.
Lewey testified that when she pulled up to the scene, she heard Andrasik asking for help very loudly in the Selfs’ yard.
“I decided I needed to call 911 pretty much immediately when I saw him in the Selfs’ yard begging for help,” Lewey said. “It was the only help I knew how to give him.”
According to testimony, Lewey was the only one to call 911 while the altercation was taking place.
The 911 log showed the call came in at 5:35 p.m.
Red Bay dispatcher William Shelton dispatched Red Bay Lt. Scottie Belue to the scene at 5:36 p.m. and he arrived on the scene at 5:39 p.m.
However, Andrasik had already been shot when Belue got to the scene.
“I heard cussing back and forth between both [Elijah Graham and Andrasik],” Lewey stated.
“Elijah was threatening, yelling, cussing – he ripped his shirt off to fight it looked like.”
Lewey testified that she never saw a weapon until the shooting actually took place.
“There was no indication that was coming,” Lewey said. “I never saw the gun.”
On Thursday, defense witness Cassidy Borden, who was dating Elijah Graham at the time of the incident, testified she saw Herschel Graham hold the gun out with two fingers and show it to Andrasik before he shot him.
“He said ‘I have a gun. Please leave my property. I’m disabled and I can’t fight you,’” Cassidy Borden testified.
“And then [Andrasik] said ‘What are you going to do? Shoot me?’ and he laughed and shoved Herschel and he almost fell back. As he was falling he raised his arm and shot him.”
Cassidy Borden testified that Graham repeatedly asked Andrasik to leave the property before the shooting occurred.
When Elijah Graham took the stand, he said he tried to calm Andrasik down when he approached his truck apparently angry that some dogs had run out in front of his car.
“I said ‘Man, those dogs aren’t mine. The only dog I have is in the house,’” Elijah Graham said.
“He beat on the door and pulled the handle but I had locked the doors. He hit [Cassidy Borden’s] door and walked around to the front of the pick-up and beat on the hood.
“He said he was going to whoop my rear end and walked around to my side. I ain’t never seen nobody act like that.”
Elijah Graham said he was scared of what Andrasik might do and since he was a minor at the time, he backed out his truck and drove around to the back driveway and went inside to get his father.
“I went to my dad’s bedroom and told him to come outside because there was some crazy guy out there,” Elijah Graham said.
“When I opened the door, I saw my Paw Paw trying to walk outside. We came outside and [Andrasik] was speed walking up the driveway. I saw him and my dad meet and I saw him push my dad full force.”
Elijah Graham said because of his father’s medical and physical conditions, he would be severely injured if he had fallen down.
“He was asking him to please leave and saying we don’t want any trouble,” Elijah Graham said. “It seemed like it kept making him madder because he wasn’t fighting him.”
Elijah Graham testified that he heard Andrasik say he was going to kill Herschel Graham and then kill his son.
At that point, the younger Graham said he took off his shirt to fight Andrasik so his father wouldn’t have to.
“I was trying to save him so he wouldn’t get hurt,” he said.
Elijah Graham said his father had a gun in his pocket.
During a taped interview, Elijah Graham said he knew his father sometimes carried a .22 caliber pistol in his pocket.
“My dad showed him the gun. He held it out in the palm of his hand but he didn’t say anything. The man said ‘What are you going to do? Shoot me?’ and shoved him the hardest he had shoved him and my dad pulled up his arm and shot him.”
During cross-examination by Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Doug Evans, Evans asked the younger Graham why he didn’t bother to call 911 when the altercation first started.
Elijah Graham stated his phone was in his truck and his girlfriend was on the phone with her dad and couldn’t call.
“Isn’t it true that you just wanted to get your father because you knew he carried a pistol and could take care of the problem?” Evans asked.
Elijah Graham stated he only got his father because he thought he could diffuse the situation.
“I thought maybe he could talk him down,” he said.
Herschel Graham took the stand Friday morning in his own defense.
Crying throughout many parts of his testimony, Graham said he was afraid for his own safety during the altercation, which began just minutes after Elijah Graham entered his bedroom letting him know that there “was a crazy man outside.”
Graham said he told Andrasik several times to leave and, at one point, he thought Andrasik was leaving.
“But he turned back around and was angry or crazy-like,” Graham said.
“He shoved me and said ‘hit me,” Graham said.
“I told him that I was disabled and couldn’t fight and he made a noise, like an animal, and acted like that made him madder.”
Graham said he tried to “talk him down” but he Andrasik would not leave. Graham said he showed Andrasik the gun and he still pushed him once again.
“I just raised my arm up and shot,” Graham said as he began to cry.
“You never want to be in a situation like that and do something like that.”
Both the defense and the state rested following Herschel Graham’s testimony Friday.
Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey instructed jurors that closing statements would resume Monday at 8:30 a.m. before the case was turned over to them for deliberation.