Alana Calahan was posting pictures to her Facebook page when she was shot in the back of the head, investigators testified in the second day of her Lacy Aaron Schmidt’s murder trial.
The facts of the 14-year-old’s death and the ensuing investigation were the bulk of Tuesday’s testimony. Schmidt, 15, is charged with murder, theft by taking and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime in the Jan. 31, 2011, shooting.
Columbia County Sheriff’s Office crime scene investigator Ken Summers testified that Alana was uploading photos when she was shot from behind, and he described for jurors the path of the bullet as it passed through her skull, struck her jawbone and landed on the desk by the computer mouse.
The bullet was recovered from the crime scene, and a shell casing was found in the dining room of the home, Summers said. A Georgia Bureau of Investigation firearms analyst testified that the bullet fragments and shell matched the gun found in the woods behind the Calahan home 12 hours later, partly buried under leaves.
Members of the jury saw a video and photos of the crime scene, which included images of Alana’s bloody body sprawled along the muddy path behind her home. The Harlem Middle School eighth-grader had been dragged out the back door of her house, across the porch and backyard to a trail in the woods.
Schmidt told a dispatcher at the time that he saw a man dressed in black leaving and chased him. After changing his story numerous times, he told police he was fumbling with the gun when he accidentally shot Alana. Schmidt has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
“It looked like someone actually tried to cover up the gun,” sheriff’s Deputy Scott Zimmerman said Tuesday. Zimmerman and his canine partner, Boz, found the firearm.
James Edmunds, the first sheriff’s investigator on the scene, said he found Schmidt crying on the front steps of the Calahan home and saw strange behavior. While interviewing Schmidt, Edmunds said the teen was calm and sometimes sobbed tearlessly.
While searching Schmidt’s home, they found the gun case and ammunition under his bathroom sink, the gun manual in his dresser and several MP3 players and a digital camera belonging to the Calahans in his room.
Schmidt’s cousin, Thomas Pittman, 15, told authorities days after the shooting that he worried when he heard about Alana’s death, fearing that Schmidt was involved.
“He’s mischievous,” he said. “He likes to plunder, and I know the Calahans have guns.”
Schmidt’s cousin also told investigators that Schmidt loved the Calahans and wouldn’t have hurt them.
Dianne Chitty, Schmidt’s sister and legal guardian, said he had a troubled childhood and had been living with her since he was 5. She said Schmidt was sexually abused as a young child.
The trial is expected to resume at 9 a.m. today. Prosecutors and defense attorneys expect testimony and closing arguments to continue into Thursday.