Testimony begins in murder trial

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 24, 2007


The murder trial of an Orrville man is scheduled to continue today in Dallas County Circuit Court, after jurors heard the testimony Monday of a child who was standing between his father and great uncle when his dad fired the first shot.

Jerry C. Wise is charged with murder in connection with the Feb. 20, 2006 shooting death of his uncle, Joe L. Pettaway, 66.

Email newsletter signup

Wise’s son, now 13, testified in Judge Jack Meigs’ courtroom that his father had been drinking and created a stir at home when he told him to get into the car to go for a ride.

He told the court his father often drank beer, and was drinking the day he put in him his lap on a dirt road and let him steer.

But the car went into a ditch and they had to get help pulling the car out.

After they were back home, the boy testified Pettaway took the car keys and threw them up onto the roof of their mobile home.

Dorial Pettaway, the victim’s son, testified he and some friends went and pulled Wise’s Pontiac 6000 out of the ditch and returned home.

When he reached the residence, Pettaway testified he saw his father’s hand motion upward, which he discovered were the car keys being thrown onto the roof.

He said Wise went into the mobile home and returned with a pistol, then the victim told his daughter to &8220;call the law.&8221; Pettaway said Wise &8220;had the gun turned sideways&8221; and headed toward his father.

Pettaway said after his father went down someone hit Wise from behind, then he and his sister either hit or kicked Wise &8220;to make sure he stayed down.&8221;

Pettaway testified they then turned their attention to their father. They got him into a vehicle and headed to Selma to the hospital.

Pettaway, represented by attorney George Jones, has remained in the Dallas County Jail without bond since his arrest.

Jurors also heard testimony that the victim and Wise often worked together doing painting and construction jobs.

Pettaway testified Wise did not like how much he was paid, and had not been working in the time leading up to the shooting.