Turners Falls man on trial for 2012 shooting
GREENFIELD — Witness accounts of the 2012 shooting of Zachery Drew may differ about what happened, but they all lead to one conclusion, said Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Bucci.
“At the end of the trial, you will be certain that the defendant shot the victim, Zachery Drew, in Drew’s home, while the victim was unarmed.”
Corey Sutton, then 36, admitted to shooting Drew, then 20, twice on the morning of Dec. 2, 2012, in a mobile home at 21 Sunset Drive in Orange. Sutton is now on trial before a jury in Franklin Superior Court.
Nobody disputes that Sutton shot Drew twice. The question is whether it was done in self-defense.
Sutton stands trial on charges of aggravated assault and battery with a firearm, assault and battery with a firearm, assault with a firearm and discharge of a firearm within 500 feet of a residence.
On Monday, the defense and prosecution gave their opening arguments.
While Sutton’s attorney argued that the defendant acted in self-defense, the prosecution argued that the victim was unarmed when he was hit by the second bullet, and may have never had a weapon at all.
Some witnesses said Drew lunged at Sutton with a screwdriver in his hand, while Drew said he was never armed, according to Bucci.
Bucci said that Sutton first fired two shots at Drew, missing him with one .45-caliber bullet, while the other went straight through Drew’s leg. If he was armed, said Bucci, he dropped the screwdriver when he was shot and fell to the floor, and no longer had a weapon when Sutton fired again, the bullet going straight through Drew’s arm and lodging in his abdomen. The bullet grazed his liver and left him with a collapsed lung.
Defense attorney Alexander Nappan argued that Drew was still armed with the screwdriver and was about to attack his client again when Sutton fired the third shot.
Nappan also said that two witnesses were asleep on a couch when the argument started, that they stayed in another room until they heard the gunfire, and they didn’t see the shooting or what led up to it.
Bucci argued that Drew nearly died as a result of his wounds.
“He nearly passed away in the ambulance on the way to the hospital,” said Bucci. En route to the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, the ambulance stopped at the HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster, where Drew was stabilized before being taken to Worcester, said Bucci.
Drew spent nearly two weeks recovering in the Worcester hospital.
Both sides agreed on the events that led up to the shooting.
Sutton was in a relationship with Drew’s aunt and housemate, Danielle Berry, after Sutton returned home after 71/2 years in the Navy. At one point, he cheated on Berry, and her family found out. Drew refused to forgive Sutton, and forbade him from visiting the trailer home he shared with his aunt.
Drew and a third housemate agreed to leave the home on Dec. 1, so that Berry could bring Sutton home after her Christmas party. When Drew returned, the couple stayed in her bedroom to avoid an argument.
The next day, they went out for a coffee, and returned to find the door locked, with a sign saying that Berry would remain locked out until Sutton left.
She then told Sutton to kick in the door, since she didn’t have a key. He did so. She entered, and confronted Drew in the kitchen, while Sutton went the other way, to her bedroom.
When a screaming match broke out between Drew and his aunt, Sutton went into the kitchen where the two were arguing.
Then, said Nappan, Drew turned his aggression toward Sutton, and armed himself with a screwdriver that sat on the microwave.
Nappan argued that Sutton drew his pistol from its holster, holding it in a “low-ready” position to deter Drew’s attack.
Drew then charged at Sutton, Nappan said, and Sutton fired his semi-automatic pistol three times, striking Drew twice.
Nappan argued that the shooting was done in self defense, and that Drew, knocked down by the first bullet, got up and began to lunge at Sutton before being shot a second time.
When police arrived, said Nappan, Sutton sat on the trailer’s porch, with his hands in the air, and told them he shot Drew in self defense.
The prosecutor said Sutton told police that he knows he could have defused the situation by leaving before things became physical. Drew told Sutton to leave, and he had ample time to leave the apartment before and during the confrontation, said Bucci, arguing that the circumstances negate the claim of self-defense.
The defense lawyer painted the victim as an angry young man who tried to impose his will on Berry. He said Drew had previously taken Sutton’s jacket, and written “I cheat” on the back of it, and tried to forbid his aunt from seeing Sutton. The defense lawyer also said Drew was unemployed, smoked marijuana on a daily basis, and had spent the night before the shooting in a local garage, “fixing a car and drinking himself into oblivion.”
Jurors were told by Judge Mary Lou Rup that the trial would likely take at least three days, and could stretch into next week. Witness testimony and evidence introduction is expected to begin today.
You can reach David Rainville at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-772-0261, ext. 279