ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The jury returned a verdict of guilty of the crime of murder with firearm specification in the trial of William Satterfield, 25, of Bethesda. Sentencing was scheduled for May 7. He faces 15 years to life with an additional three years due to the specification.
The jury delivered its verdict Friday after an early morning visit to the location of the shooting. Court then re-convened for closing arguments.
Belmont County Prosecutor Chris Berhalter represented the state while Sam Shamansky and Michael Shaheen representing Satterfield. Belmont County Common Pleas Court Judge Jennifer L. Sargus presided.
Prosecutor Chris Berhalter motions to the jury during his closing
arguments during William Satterfield’s trial Friday in Belmont County Common Pleas Court. The jury returned a guilty verdict on the charge of murder with firearms specification.
Satterfield was charged with one count aggravated murder and one count murder in the shooting death of 25-year-old Kevin Smith Oct. 7, following a dispute where Satterfield contended that Smith's dog was running loose.
The four-day trial included forensic evidence and testimony from BCI&I officials, 911 tapes, recordings of police interviews, and testimony of Smith's girlfriend, Grace Wineman, who was present during the altercation.
Berhalter summarized the state's case, that Satterfield twice went to Smith's residence and the second time with a handgun. He said Smith was kneeling on a couch with his head out the window when he was shot. Berhalter added that the prosecution had put forward the argument that Satterfield shot once in the air as a warning and then shot Smith.
The defense had argued that Smith was shot outside of the house and that he struck Satterfield's gun hand and caused him to fire. He said Satterfield had claimed he took aim at Smith because he felt he was under attack, then the gun was fired accidentally.
"Everything matches as to where Kevin was. It appears clear beyond any doubt that Kevin was in that window," Berhalter said.
Berhalter also noted testimony that Smith had no powder burns on his hand. He also said the first bullet was not found.
In his closing argument, Shamansky said reasonable doubt still remained. He called into question Wineman's honesty and state of mind at the time of the crime.
"It's not credible. It stinks," he said.
He expressed doubt about the credentials of the investigators and the analysis of the scene.
"Where this young man was is important," he said.
Shamansky said that while Satterfield was hotheaded, his actions did not meet the criteria of planning and purpose. He pointed out that Satterfield contacted 911 and voluntarily spoke with investigators.
"This is an accident, and that's all it is," he said.
Berhalter defended the state's version of events and reiterated that these points of contention did not touch the pertinent fact that Satterfield brought a loaded weapon to another's residence and repeatedly took aim at an unarmed man.
"We have a loss of life here that did not have to occur. Is that an accident?" he said.
The jury found Satterfield guilty of murder, which entails the crime was done with purpose, but not aggravated murder, which entails prior calculation and design.
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