It’s true Johnny Barbour was involved in a 2010 altercation on Dodds Avenue that left another man with a gunshot wound, defense attorney Dan Ripper told a Hamilton County Criminal Court jury Tuesday.But Barbour was the victim, not the attacker, in that incident, the lawyer contended.
Prosecutor Bates Bryan sees the case differently, and late Tuesday afternoon he called the alleged victim – 27-year-old Michael Steven Kilgore – to the witness stand to tell how he came to be shot through the wall of his stomach.
According to Kilgore, the October 2010 incident began as he and his friends were leaving the Fox and Hound Restaurant at Hamilton Place when a black man he had never seen before approached him in the parking lot.
“He came up to me saying he had been left behind and needed a ride to Wilcox (Boulevard),” Kilgore testified. He said he talked his buddies into giving Barbour a ride as far as Dodds Avenue since they were traveling in that direction anyway.
During the ride, Kilgore said, Barbour was quiet. “I didn’t hear him say two words,” he noted. But once they arrived at a Dodds Avenue filling station where they intended to drop off their passenger, he said Barbour seemed upset as he got out of the car.
“He said he was from Alabama and he didn’t know which way to go,” Kilgore recalled. Then, after he began to give directions to Wilcox, he said Barbour interrupted him with a menacing statement: “You all are (expletive deleted) going to take me.”
He said Barbour “reached for me” in a threatening manner, so “I did what I had to do to get his hands off me.”
At that point, according to Kilgore, Barbour “pulled a 380 out and started shooting."
He’s not sure which of the shots fired struck him, Kilgore said, but one bullet entered the left wall of his stomach and exited a few inches away near his naval.
He didn’t have a cell phone, he said, so he took off running along Dodds Avenue.
“I flagged down a cab and went to my mom’s house,” Kilgore testified. From there, he said, his sister drove him to the emergency room at Erlanger Hospital where he was treated and released.
During cross-examination, Kilgore acknowledged that his statements in court differed somewhat from those given to police officers soon after the incident occurred. But that’s because he had been up all night and was tired, he insisted.
He admitted that during the ride he sat in the front passenger seat, under which police found a Billy club concealed when they searched the vehicle following the incident.
That same search turned up brass knuckles and a knife concealed under other items in the pocket on the door beside the car’s driver, according to testimony.
The trial will resume at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.