A witness to the slaying of a teen at an upscale home in Mountain Shadows testified Wednesday that Myles Stout was smiling as he shot 18-year-old Myles Compton and later was joking around at the police station in the March 9, 2011, incident.
Amanda Freeman said the 20-year-old Stout "was lollygagging with the gun. You could tell he felt powerful with it." She said she watched in disbelief as he pushed the barrel of the 40mm SIG handgun into the victim's chest.
She said Compton tried to walk away, but Stout stayed with him as Compton pleaded, "Whoa, whoa, don't do that." She said there was nervous laughter from Compton as he said, "I know you're trying to be funny, but this isn't funny."
Ms. Freeman said she then saw a flash and watched as Compton crumpled to the floor. She said, "Everything was in slow motion. I couldn't hear anything. I thought they were playing a prank, and I said, 'That's not funny, guys.' Then I realized it wasn't a prank. Myles was on the floor in front of me. Then it was panic. Everything was panic."
Stout is standing trial for second-degree murder and reckless endangerment in the courtroom of Judge Barry Steelman.
Stout was living at the time at 9125 Stoney Mountain Dr. with a friend, Kevin Driscoll, who was the opening witness. The slaying happened in an upstairs bedroom.
Ms. Freeman, who said she had been dating Driscoll for a short time, said she came over and had steaks with Kevin Driscoll, Stout and Daniel Finley. She said Stout wanted beer so she agreed to drive them to a nearby Mapco. She said she had heard that Mapco closely checked IDs and she was hoping that they would not be able to buy beer since none of them was of age. But she said Stout came back out with a pack of beer and some gum for her.
She said they all went upstairs and then Driscoll spoke on the phone with Kevin West about him and Compton coming over. She said she had known Compton since they were high school freshmen and said he escorted her to some competitions. She said she barely knew West, but said he was "very popular" at East Hamilton High School where they attended.
She said she was sitting on Driscoll's bed as West and Compton arrived. She said Stout kept pressing Driscoll to bring out some guns. She said that was the first she had heard about guns. She said Driscoll finally retrieved two handguns. She said Driscoll checked both guns to make sure they were safe and handed a 9mm Smith and Wesson with a wooden handle to West to also check. She said West was admiring the handgun.
Ms. Freeman said Stout took a black 40mm SIG and she said she heard a noise like the gun being engaged. She said she still was not paying close attention and was checking her cellphone, but she said Stout then "pointed the gun at my head." She said she protested and Driscoll "flipped out," telling him not to point the gun at anyone.
She said Stout "was chuckling that he had gotten scolded."
The witness said Stout put the gun between his legs, then suddenly jerked it up and headed for Compton. "By this time I'm a nervous wreck," she said.
She said after the shooting Stout looked at her, gave a motion as if cutting off his head and said, "I'm done."
She said she was told to get out of the room and she went to her car and drove off. She said she met her parents at Moe's and they drove her back to the residence that by this time was blocked off with police tape.
She went to the police station and saw Stout sitting nearby. She said, "He was playful and joking around because he didn't have any shoes on and his phone kept going off."
Kevin Driscoll testified that a gun he had gotten out while his parents were away had been twice "cleared" before Stout picked it up and fatally shot Compton.
He said Compton was dead by the time he got some towels to try to tend to him.
Driscoll said Stout fired another shot outside the East Brainerd home before police arrived.
Driscoll said Stout had been living with him and his parents for several weeks. He said on the morning of the incident he, Stout and Finley cut up a tree that had fallen at a neighbor's house across the street. He said Stout had lined up the job for which they got paid.
He told of Ms. Freeman driving them to Mapco and said Stout was able to purchase two 18-packs of Miller High Life beer.
Driscoll said they returned to his residence and he and Stout had two or three beers each. He said Compton and West then came over. He said he could not remember if he had called West or if West called him.
He said he had known Compton since they were in the fifth grade together. He said of Compton, "He laughed a lot. He was a happy person." He said he had met West at a teen hangout at the Hobby Lobby parking lot.
Driscoll said before they had gone to cut up the tree, he had gone into his parents' bedroom downstairs and gotten a black 40mm Sig and a chrome 9mm Smith and Wesson. He said they were in a bag high in a closet. He said he had to get a key elsewhere to get to the guns, which he said were two of several his father had at the house. He said he and Stout planned to go shooting later. He said his father had previously taken him and his brother target shooting at Cleveland, Tn.
Driscoll said he put the 9mm in a computer cabinet and the 40mm under his bed. He said he put the clips for the guns elsewhere in the room.
He said after West and Compton arrived, Ms. Freeman was sitting on his bed and he and West were standing near the end of the bed. He said he (Driscoll) got out the guns and put them on the bed. He said he checked both guns to make sure they were unloaded, and he said West did the same.
Driscoll said afterward Stout picked up the 40mm Sig and pointed it at Ms. Freeman. He said he told Stout to put the gun down after Ms. Freeman protested.
He said Stout then moved toward Compton, who said he did not like guns and also told him to put it down.
Asked what happened then, Driscoll said, "I don't really remember a lot, but he got shot. I heard a shot. Myles fell down, West grabbed him, and everybody started freaking out."
He said Ms. Freeman was ordered out of the room "because I did not want her to see Myles in pain."
Driscoll said as he fell, Compton had said only, "My heart."
Prosecutors said the bullet severed his pulmonary artery and he died quickly.
Driscoll said he found Stout in the kitchen with the gun. He said he took it from him, took out the clip and threw the bullets left in it in the back yard. Asked why he had done that, he said after 911 was called "someone said we should secure the gun." He said, "I did not want anyone else to get hurt."
But he said Stout again got the gun and took it in the back yard. He said another shot was fired there. He said he and Stout were in the yard when police arrived.
Jerry Driscoll, father of Kevin Driscoll, said he came home after work that day and found Kevin with several friends over. He said he and his wife went out to dinner with friends around 7 p.m., then got a call from their son that there had been a shooting around 9 p.m.
He said he had four guns in the house, saying, "I like guns. I like to go shoot guns." He said he kept them locked in a bag on a high shelf in his closet. He said a key was kept in a separate hidden area and he did not know how Kevin had found it. He said he had instructed his sons never to handle the guns while he was away and never to point a gun at anyone.
He said he kept a variety of liquor in the house, and he said he did not know how much Kevin would drink. Kevin Driscoll had told the jury, "I like to get drunk."
Jerry Driscoll said he had Serv Pro clean the room where the shooting took place. He said the cleaning crew found a 40mm SIG shell case. He said he threw it away because finding shell cases in the house was not unusual. But he said he later thought about it and told detectives.
In an opening statement, prosecutor David Schmidt said Stout "picked up the gun, pointed it at Myles Compton, put the muzzle in his chest and slowly squeezed the trigger. He fell and he died in a short time."
He said Stout "then steps over the body, and he lies." He said Stout told other young people in the Driscoll upstairs bedroom, "Tell 'em he shot himself."
The prosecutor said jurors would find that county detective Mike Cox "made three mistakes" in the case. He said he made a photo of a magazine clip but did not collect it, he did not find a cartridge involved in the incident, and he made a diagram of blood on the wall when there was no blood.
Defense attorney Hank Hill said he was not going to focus on actions of the detective, but on varying statements made by those at the scene. He said jurors would find witnesses "not telling the whole truth."
He said the fatal shooting was "bad behavior, stupid and foolish," but he called it "a misinformed accident." He said jurors would not find the necessary elements of a second-degree murder conviction.
The Compton family has filed a $10 million wrongful death civil lawsuit. Sued are Stout, Driscoll, Jerry and Patricia Driscoll and Mapco. A number of attorneys involved in that case have been monitoring the criminal trial.