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Trial begins for Richland man accused of shooting police cruiser
By: Maria Miller
EBENSBURG, Pa. -- Key evidence was presented Tuesday in the first day of trial for Kevin McGee, the Richland Township man accused of shooting at a police cruiser in 2012. McGee was supposed to be representing himself but instead, left the courtroom before the jury even walked in.
McGee has been fighting for months to represent himself at trial but instead at the last minute decided not to participate. He was taken away by sheriff's deputies, leaving court appointed stand-in counsel to represent him.
After opening arguments, prosecutors showed photos of the crime scene and the actual shotgun McGee is accused of using to shoot out a window of a Richland Township police cruiser. They also showed video of the entire incident as it unfolded from a small camera McGee had taped to his shirt.
In that video, McGee can be seen pulling out a shotgun and firing. Seconds later there's another shot heard and McGee goes down. As officers rush out to arrest him, the video captures them asking MCGee what he was thinking. He answers, "I was thinking, 'I own this planet.'"
Officer John Lucas was the first person called to testify. He told the jury his account of what happened, recalling hearing a gunshot before looking out the window to see McGee holding a shotgun pointed in his direction and McGee's finger on the trigger.
It's a moment Lucas said is engraved in his mind and a moment he remembers visualizing what could have happened, telling the jury he could see the blast from the gun. He could see a flash, the window before him breaking and being shot.
He also said he remembered thinking he was going to have to "take one for the home team" that day. But instead, when McGee refused to put his weapon down, Lucas said he drew his own gun and fired at McGee, a shot he told the jury had to happen at the perfect trajectory and on the first try because Richland High School is only a couple hundred yards away.
It's not clear if McGee will be involved in any part of the trial, but according to a letter he sent to 6 News Tuesday afternoon titled "M for Mistrial, " it doesn't appear that he will be involved. In the letter, McGee claims he hasn't been given sufficient time in the prison library to prepare for trial and said the judge has continued to refuse his request to dismiss his court-appointed public defender, John Lovette.
Lovette was only going to act as stand-in counsel in case McGee needed help during trial, but because McGee asked to leave Tuesday morning, Lovette has taken over the defense.
The trial is expected to continue at least through Thursday.