Six women and six men were sent to a Scott County jury room shortly before 5 p.m. to begin deliberations in the case of a former Davenport alderman facing a charge of assault while displaying a deadly weapon.
Keith Meyer has been representing himself in the case and offered a rambling closing argument that was at least twice interrupted by the prosecutor’s objections.
The jury was sent home for the weekend at around 6:15 p.m.
Meyer referred to friends in the courtroom who were not allowed to testify to past “bullying” by the neighbor he is accused of assaulting. He also acknowledged his history of complaints against Davenport police.
He repeatedly asserted there is no evidence he pointed his gun at neighbor John Fahs, despite the prosecutor’s explanation that evidence of him pointing the gun is not necessary.
To prove its case against Meyer, the state had to show he displayed the gun, and the neighbor feared for his safety because of it.
Meyer has said he retrieved the gun from his home as a matter of self-defense.
Former alderman's trial goes to jury
Times staff at 5:15 p.m.
The closing arguments in former Davenport alderman Keith Meyer's trial are complete and the jury has the case.
Details to come.
Judge denies 17 witnesses for former alderman's defense
Brian Wellner at 1 p.m.
Keith Meyer wanted to call at least 18 witnesses to his assault trial today but couldn’t after the judge ruled they are irrelevant to the case.
The 71-year-old former Davenport alderman is representing himself against charges he pointed a shotgun at his neighbor last year.
“I’m sorry, but justice isn’t going to be done here,” Meyer said in Scott County District Court.
He wanted to call 16 employees of the Davenport Police Department, including 14 officers, a records clerk and Assistant Police Chief Don Schaeffer. He also wanted to call Davenport 4th Ward Alderman Ray Ambrose and Neal Hallowell of Davenport, a friend of his for 35 years.
Before the jury was called into the courtroom this morning, Scott County Associate District Judge Cheryl Traum asked Meyer to go through his list of potential witnesses.
Meyer questioned the fairness of having to explain what each of the witnesses would testify to before they actually testified.
“It seems really unfair, and I’m on the record for saying that,” he said.
Traum said the court has the ability to exclude evidence based on “undue prejudice” and “needless presentation.”
She added she didn’t want to waste the court’s time or further delay proceedings. The trial already was delayed a day this week so that Meyer could read transcripts of 911 calls because he suffers partial hearing loss. That was after he and the prosecutor, Assistant Scott County Attorney Will Ripley, spent two days to pick a jury.
Traum said she denied many of Meyer’s witnesses because they weren’t at the scene of the Nov. 11 incident in front of Meyer’s home. He’s accused of fetching a shotgun from his house and pointing it at his neighbor.
“This trial is not about how the police department or the city of Davenport have treated you over the years,” Traum said. “This trial is about a specific day and instance.”
After two hours of Meyer arguing his request to call witnesses, the jury was brought into the courtroom and Meyer called his only witness of the morning, Ted Breckenfelder, a Davenport attorney who represented Meyer in past cases.
Traum asked people sitting in the courtroom’s gallery to leave, including members of the media, so that Meyer could question Breckenfelder on medical issues in front of the jury. None of his testimony was open to the public.
The trial will continue this afternoon, and Meyer is expected to call two Davenport police officers who testified Thursday for the prosecution.