By MELINDA OVERSTREET
Glasgow Daily Times
While the man he shot was struggling to live, William “Bill” Chesher was using his fishing pole to push the gun he used deeper into a pay lake, where it wasn’t visible.
Noticing a lure was already at the end of the line, “I did a couple of casts and caught a little bass.”
Then he decided he should leave, so he took off driving again, he testified Wednesday in Metcalfe Circuit Court. He had made similar statements in his initial interview with investigators.
Chesher is charged with murder and tampering with physical evidence in the death of Ronnie Hiser, who was married to Karen Hiser, with whom Chesher was having an affair.
Chesher admits to shooting Ronnie Hiser but has said it was in his, and possibly Karen’s, defense, as he was trying to rescue Karen from a bad home situation.
On a recording played in the courtroom, Chesher told investigators how he came to know Karen through Facebook. He said Karen told him that Ronnie was married to someone else when he married her, that he had embezzled money from her and that he sold property of hers by forging her name on a deed.
Chesher told of driving to the Hisers’ Metcalfe County home to check on her when he learned she’d been injured, and introduced himself to her husband. He saw “60 pounds of skin in a wheelchair” and her eyes were sunken in and her face bruised, and she told him she had been leaning over a banister dusting it when she guessed – but wasn’t sure – she had fallen, he said.
He also mentioned the cut she had on her face when she came to see him the final of three times he was staying at a hotel in Campbellsville, which she told him was from tripping at the cemetery where her son was buried and hitting her face on a gravestone.
A couple of days before the shooting, Karen and her daughter ate some potato salad from the refrigerator and they both passed out. He believed they had been drugged.
“I figure this guy’s been wanting to kill her for a long time and just hadn’t figured out a good way to do it,” Chesher said in the recording.
After that he decided to go get her, and his plan was to take her to his attorney’s office.
“I was going to save her from that son of a bitch,” Chesher told investigators.
He suggested she meet him at the end of their driveway, but that didn’t happen, he said.
“I heard a ruckus going on when I got to the door,” he said, clarifying that he meant screaming, bumping and thumping and heard comments like “I’m leaving” and “You’re not going anywhere if I can help it.”
First Karen went to the door, and then Ronnie, who had gone to get his gun. Chesher stepped back and Ronnie told him Karen wasn’t going anywhere and Chesher told him she was going with him “right now.”
“He turned around like that to her, and that’s when I popped him,” Chesher said in the recording, adding that he aimed “to shoot over his head, to scare him, but I was down on the porch.”
Chesher said in the recording that after the shooting, Karen was “freaking out so bad” and “hysterical” and she kept telling him to leave.
The discussion turned to the sexual relationship between Karen and him that had started a few weeks earlier at the Campbellsville hotel after they spent some time walking in an outdoor area, holding hands and began kissing. He discussed some of his suspicions regarding her relationship with Ronnie.
“I’ve been telling her I was coming for a long time,” he said, but she kept telling him she could handle things.
Chesher said if she opened a door or window, an alarm would go off and Ronnie would have people follow her.
“She was a prisoner,” he said, and the second time he went to her house “was to save her life.”
Asked about the allegation Karen made he had tried to get her to shoot Ronnie to finish him off, Chesher replied to investigators, “Shoot him? No. No. No. No. Hell, no!”
He said he considered going to Edmonton to the police department but decided against going there with a gun because of Ronnie’s connections with the community. He pulled off at the pay lake, and while he was there, saw an ambulance and police vehicles going toward the Hiser residence.
After he buried the gun, Chesher eventually went to the House of Prayer church and asked to speak with the pastor. The person who was there, William White, testified Tuesday that he had trouble reaching the pastor by phone, but gradually, Chesher told him some of what had happened.
White said Chesher told him he’d done “something God’ll never forgive me for” and later told White he had been at a woman’s house and “the woman’s husband came to the door with a gun and he said, ‘I took my gun and I shot him.’”
After the conclusion of the recording, Commonwealth’s Attorney John Gardner asked Brooks to describe Chesher’s demeanor during the interview conducted under a picnic shelter on the church grounds.
“He was very calm, very cool, very collected. He didn’t seem rattled at all,” Brooks said.
Gardner also confirmed with Brooks that Chesher had said he could see Karen from the doorway after Ronnie had pushed her aside, and Brooks said he did. Defense attorney Greg Berry has contended she could not see what happened well enough from where she was to provide a reliable account.
Chesher was the only witness Berry called, and they recapped much of what had been in the recorded statement.
After the banister incident, Chesher said he suspected her husband was “feeding her drugs she couldn’t handle, but she had her own prescriptions, too, and she drank.”
“I was suspicious she was being abused,” he said, adding that after he tried going through the police and felt not enough was being done, he had tried to call Adult Protective Services and even the state attorney general’s office.
Chesher said he put the gun in his pocket when he arrived at their house on June 4 because, “I was a little nervous about what might happen next. … She said he was dangerous, and I assumed he was.”
When he heard arguing inside the home, “I reached behind me and turned the safety off on my gun, but it stayed in my pocket,” he testified. When Ronnie was at the door, “he spun around with a gun aiming at me and that’s when mine came out.”
Karen testified Tuesday she never saw Ronnie point the gun at Chesher or her, that it was pointed up toward the ceiling.
Chesher said “at no time was it pointed toward the ceiling.”
After some movements by both men to their respective lefts and exchanged some words.
“I peeked around the corner and saw a muzzle, and I fired, like that, and that was it,” he said. “I thought I was going to get killed. … I thought he was going to shoot me.”
After the shooting, Karen kept insisting he leave. He wasn’t sure what to do with the gun then, he said.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to be executed by the police or not,” Chesher said, adding that he considered shooting himself, but opted to toss the gun in the lake instead.
He decided to go somewhere he would have witnesses when he turned himself in, which is why he went to the church, he said. When police arrived later, “I told them everything I knew.”
Berry asked his client whether he intended to kill anyone when he came to Metcalfe County.
“I was in the process of saving someone from a bad spot,” Chesher said. “I was afraid he was either going to have her committed or kill her.”