TESTIMONY: Night Out in Casper Devolved Into Brutal Murder
Photos shown in a jury trial in Casper depict a smiling man and a woman a few hours before the man allegedly murdered her by ramming an SUV into her at roughly 40 mph.
The photos were shown during the trial of Jerald Thomas Fallon, who is accused of killing Kelly Black the night of February 29, 2020. Fallon is charged with second-degree murder and aggravated assault.
On Tuesday morning, Natrona County Sheriff's Office Investigator Drew Cotton testified to phone communication between Fallon and others during the hours surrounding the murder.
Cotton specializes in digital forensics and obtained phone call data and text messages Fallon exchanged with others the day of the alleged murder.
One image Cotton took that Assistant Natrona County District Attorney Kevin Taheri presented showed Fallon and Black together both smiling at 4:20 p.m. before heading to a company Christmas party at the Hilton Garden Inn. At roughly 6:50 p.m., Fallon sent someone a text message asking "Are we the loudest table?"
At roughly 7:40 p.m. that night, Fallon is seen in Hilton security camera footage confronting Black at the party. Court documents state witnesses told investigators that Fallon was upset with her for being drunk.
One of Fallon's coworkers at the party testified Tuesday afternoon that Fallon told Black to "shut the f--- up" before dragging her from the party.
But before that, Shelly Hernandez testified that Fallon was in a good mood at the Christmas party.
At some point, Hernandez testified, that changed.
Forensic pathologist Dr. Thomas Bennett testified to Black's injuries and said she would have likely been dead within three minutes of being struck. He also testified that Black's injuries were comparable to someone who died by suicide he examined. In that case, a man jumped off a five-story building and landed on his back.
Court documents state a Wyoming Highway Patrol crash reconstructionist determined that Fallon was traveling at 38 to 42 mph.
Jurors viewed autopsy photos from Bennett's examination of Black. Bennett said that the impact's force was so extreme that it tore Black's aorta.
"She bled out internally," Bennett testified.
Black was 42.
Attorneys Rest Their Cases
After Bennett testified, Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen rested his case. Fallon is choosing not to testify, as is his right.
Lead defense attorney Joe Cole did not call any witnesses.
Jurors were sent home mid-afternoon Tuesday as attorneys work out what instructions to give them.
They will head back into the courtroom Wednesday morning to receive their instructions and hear closing arguments. Then they will deliberate.
If convicted, Fallon is facing a mandatory life sentence due to a habitual criminal enhancement.