Doris Nation testified Thursday that she witnessed her brother-in-law Michael Nation firing shots at his father, Glenn Nation, on May 4, 2005. She said Glenn Nation was inside his pickup truck as his son ran alongside the truck and fired two shots with one hitting Glenn Nation in the head and killing him.
The local murder trial is being held inside the Walker County Courthouse.
Doris Nation described Glenn Nation as a loving grandfather to her five children.
“We lived next door to each other,” she said. “We had a good relationship. He was the only grandfather my children have really known. He loved picking at them and doing the things that grandfathers do.”
The day of the shooting was described as a normal school day during Doris Nation’s testimony. She said she took her children to school, spent most of the day doing household chores and then picked her children back up from school and brought them home.
Doris Nation said three of her five children were at home on that afternoon. She said the children (a 14-year-old, an 8-year-old and a 4-year-old) spent some time playing in their yard after getting home around 3 p.m.
“I asked them why they came in the house, and it was because they heard loud talking coming from next door,” Doris Nation said.
At that time, she looked outside a window and saw her mother-in-law, Louise Nation, walking down the driveway in the direction of their home. She said Louise Nation looked like something was wrong, but she stopped for a moment and turned around to walk back to her own home.
Defense attorney Thomas Carmichael asked Doris Nation during cross-examination why she didn’t say something to Louise Nation if she was worried about her.
“It involved Mike so that made me very cautious,” she responded.
During the testimony, Doris Nation said she went out her back door to find out what was happening. She said she then saw her mother-in-law walking slowly back to her home and saw Michael Nation standing in the driveway. The two went to their front porch and sat down. She testified that she could hear them speaking but couldn’t make out the words due to her distance away from them.
Doris Nation said she noticed Louise Nation sitting in her front porch swing and Michael Nation sitting in a chair. Moments later, she said Michael Nation stood up and moved in front of his mother. Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair sat in a chair in front of the jury and asked Doris Nation to demonstrate what she saw and heard next.
“For the sake of the demonstration, let’s say that I’m Louise Nation and you are Michael,” Adair said.
Doris Nation came closer to Adair leaned in and said she heard Michael Nation say loudly, “Do you want to see your favorite son killed?”
Doris Nation said she immediately turned away and went into the house to call her other brother-in-law, Ricky Nation.
“I didn’t want to call my husband, because he was on a roof working,” she said. “I don’t like to call him when he’s on a roof, because I’m afraid he might lose his balance when he reaches for his phone. I told Ricky what was happening. I believe I used the words, ‘Mike is acting up again.’”
While she was on the phone with her brother-in-law, Doris Nation said Glenn Nation pulled into the driveway in his Ford Ranger pickup. She asked her daughter, Sarah, to open the door and call for him. The daughter said she saw Michael Nation running down the sidewalk in the direction of the truck.
Doris Nation said she ran back to the window and saw Michael Nation running alongside the truck with a gun in his right hand, extended toward the driver-side window.
Adair showed Doris Nation a Charter Arms .38 Special Revolver and asked if it looked like the gun Michael Nation was carrying. She confirmed that it appeared to be similar to the gun she saw that day. Adair said it was the gun police recovered from Michael Nation’s car the day of the incident.
As her testimony continued, Doris Nation said she was watching Michael Nation follow alongside the truck and she “heard the gun.” She said it was at that point that she returned to the phone to call the police.
Carmichael questioned if Doris Nation “heard” the gun fire or if she “saw” the gun fire.
“Those can be the same thing, but they can also be two very different things,” Carmichael said.
Doris Nation later said in her testimony that there was no doubt that she saw the defendant shooting a gun.
Doris Nation said she heard two gun shots before she could make the call to the Jasper Police Department. Gale Hobbs, who testified Thursday afternoon, was the dispatcher who answered the call. Prosecutors then played an audio recording of the phone conversation between Doris Nation and Hobbs.
During the phone call, Doris Nation told Hobbs that Michael Nation was shooting at her father-in-law. She also asked her children to lock the front door and hide in a bathroom. Hobbs asked Doris Nation to check where the truck was located.
“I need an ambulance. He’s been shot. He is slumped over in his truck,” Doris Nation said when she returned to the phone.
A few moments later, Doris Nation told Hobbs that Michael Nation was walking around in the front yard. She then said, “Oh dear God, he’s going to kill her too,” when she said she saw Michael Nation walking toward Louise Nation.
Later in the tape, Hobbs asked about a green Ford Taurus that a police officer had seen leaving the area. Doris Nation confirmed that was Michael Nation’s vehicle. After deciding it was safe to go outside, Doris Nation went to check on her father-in-law.
She described Glenn Nation as “lifeless” when she saw him. She said he had a hole in his head with thick blood dripping from it. She said there were groceries in the truck beside him that were later given to the family by Jasper police. Doris Nation said it was only a short time after she got to the truck that a Jasper police officer was on the scene.
Carmichael also asked Nation if she was in a panicked state during the phone call. She admitted she was panicked, but Adair later said she may have been panicked but she clearly remembers what happened.
Glenda Ann Hallman, the daughter of Glenn and Louise Nation, also testified Thursday morning. She said she had seen her parents earlier on the day of the incident. She testified they were both in good health with no injuries during her visit at their home.
Rorcell Lohman, a certified fingerprint examiner with the Alabama Department of Public Safety, served as an expert witness for the prosecution Thursday afternoon. He examined the gun suspected of being the murder weapon in May 2005. He said at that time he found no fingerprints on the weapon or on the three spent cartridges and one unspent cartridge that he examined.
He said it was not unusual to not find fingerprints on a gun.
“Latent prints are 90 percent moisture,” he said. “Any type of pressure applied can destroy the prints.”
Carmichael asked Lohman if he was confident he had performed every test he could to find fingerprints.
“I’m satisfied that any test that could have been done was performed,” Lohman said.
Testimony wrapped up Thursday with two first responders and a former funeral home employee called to the stand. Jasper firefighter David Lockhart and paramedic Jeff Early gave their accounts of what they witnessed when called to the scene. Sam Hood, who worked at Collins-Burke Funeral Home in 2005, testified that Glenn Nation’s body was received by the funeral home and sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Science for an autopsy and further examination.
Before testimony in the trial began on Thursday, Walker County Circuit Judge Jerry Selman warned jurors not to talk about the trial to anyone. Randy Sanford, a deputy with the Walker County Sheriff’s Office, was called to the stand to give information he had received about a possible juror discussing the case with a local supermarket clerk.
“It is very important that you not discuss this case with anybody,” Selman said. “I would hate to see a mistrial because someone could not follow the rules of conduct. Be very careful.”