The trial of a Louisville man accused of fatally shooting Ronnie Hiser at the front door of his Metcalfe County home is expected to proceed as scheduled.
William Chesher, 62, is charged with murder and tampering with physical evidence.
Although the murder count can be a capital offense, certain types of aggravating circumstances must exist before the death penalty can be sought, and none of those conditions are involved in this case, Commonwealth’s Attorney John Gardner has said.
What was likely Chesher’s final pretrial conference occurred Tuesday in Metcalfe Circuit Court, and only two items were addressed.
Judge Phil Patton has a decision pending regarding whether a specific piece of evidence will be permitted.
Gardner filed a notice of his intent to introduce details from a computer-aided dispatch log under Kentucky Rules of Evidence 404(b), and defense attorney Greg Berry has filed a response objecting to the introduction of that information. Berry notes that “404(b) is a rule of exclusion which prevents using evidence of other wrongs or acts against a person to prove a character trait of that person, especially if it is being used to prove he acted in ‘conformity therewith,’” and few exceptions are allowed by the rule, none of which Gardner cited as grounds for allowing the CAD report.
Gardner, in his notice, stated the commonwealth “does not intend to introduce this evidence to prove the character of the Defendant in order to show action in conformity therewith.” Instead, the commonwealth intends to use it as a demonstration of Hiser’s state of mind on the day he was shot by the defendant and the defendant’s state of mind leading up to the day of the shooting.
The CAD report from May 9 includes a description of two visits Ronnie Hiser told dispatchers Chesher made to the Hiser home within approximately two weeks prior to that as well as Ronnie Hiser’s reports of several harassing calls Chesher made to the home.
Patton told the attorneys he would provide a written order on the question far enough in advance of the trial to allow the attorneys time to prepare, possibly this week.
Gardner stated for the record that he had made a plea agreement offer to Chesher, through his attorney, and it was declined with no counter offer suggested.
Patton advised Chesher of the trial date and time, adding that if any additional motions were filed he would need to be in court when those are argued.
Four days have been set aside for the trial, which is scheduled to begin March 18.
Patton determined in January that Chesher was able to participate in his own defense and was competent to stand trial after a forensic psychiatrist testified via telephone at a competency hearing regarding an evaluation of Chesher that had been conducted at the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center.
Both Chesher and Hiser’s wife, Karen Hiser, told investigators they had begun communicating online, and starting a few weeks before the June 4 shooting, they had met at a hotel room in Campbellsville, according to court documents.
The morning the shooting occurred, Chesher arrived at the Hiser home in the Wisdom community, just east of the Barren County line on U.S. 68-Ky. 80. After an interaction with Karen Hiser, Ronnie Hiser went to the door and he was shot, both of them told investigators, according to court documents. However, their accounts vary in the details of what happened in those minutes leading up to and after the shooting.
Ronnie Hiser was flown by helicopter to a Louisville hospital, where he died on the morning of June 5.
Chesher was located in Edmonton the same day as the shooting and arrested. Other than the time at KCPC, he has remained lodged in the Barren County Detention Center in lieu of a $1 million cash bond.
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