Testimony begins in Gillaspy trial


Mitchell Banks

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The trial of a Seymour man accused of a Level 1 felony charge of aggravated battery inflicting injury that causes permanent disfigurement resumed Thursday in Jackson Circuit Court with testimony from a police officer, the woman he is accused of attacking and others.

The jury picked to determine the fate of Matthew Scott Gillaspy, 45, was selected Tuesday morning, and opening statements were presented that day by Senior Prosecutor David Owen Thomas and Gillaspy’s defense team of William Dillon and Mark Dove.

Special Judge Chris Monroe then delayed the trial to Thursday because of a medical issue he needed to have addressed.

On Thursday morning, Thomas opened the state’s case with testimony from Seymour Police Department Officer Michael Payne.

Payne testified he and city Officer Kevin Settle, who now works for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, responded to an incident at about 3:30 p.m. Aug. 19, 2019, at a home on West Fifth Street in Seymour.

Upon arrival, Payne said he was greeted at the door by Kelley Gillaspy, who said her husband had tried to kill her.

She told police that night that a man, she later identified as her husband, entered the home around 2 a.m.

Kelley Gillaspy, who has since moved to another city out of fear, said she woke up when she thought she heard something and saw the man standing in her bedroom.

She told police the man came at her with a plastic trash bag and put it over her face.

Payne said the woman told police she struggled until she screamed and Matthew Gillaspy stopped. At the time of the incident, a child had been asleep with her in bed, and a second child was asleep in their own bedroom.

Gillaspy’s wife said her husband stayed in the house for about a half-hour after the incident and spent that time talking to her and the two children in the living room, Payne testified.

He also testified that before Matthew Gillaspy left the home, he told his wife to promise him to not tell anyone he had broken into the home.

Payne said during an interview with police, Gillaspy said he went into his wife’s house through the back door, stood in the doorway of her bedroom and that she had woken up and was scared.

Gillaspy, who also is being tried on a Level 4 felony burglary charge, denied putting a plastic bag over his wife’s head or getting into her bed to do so.

During cross-examination, Dillon asked Payne if he and Settle had inspected the bedroom after arriving at the home.

Payne said he did not but later clarified that not every incident warrants that a home be searched and finding disheveled bedsheets doesn’t mean a crime occurred.

The room was not searched because there was no “evidentiary value,” Payne said.

Dillon also asked Payne if he had written the incident report, and he said he had not.

Payne also told Dillon he did not see any marks on Kelley Gillaspy and did not check to see if she did.

No trash bag was found at the scene or nothing was broken inside the home, Payne said.

During Thomas’ rebuttal of Dillon’s cross-examination, Payne said Settle, who was the investigating officer, had written the report and that it was detailed.

During her testimony, Kelley Gillaspy said the couple were in the process of getting a divorce at the time of the incident.

That was something her husband didn’t ask for or want, she said.

She said her husband did not have permission to enter the home where she had been staying for about two weeks. Her father owned that home, and Kelley Gillaspy and her husband had lived there from 1998 until 2001, so he would have known the layout of it, she said.

Gillaspy also testified she didn’t know at first who was in her bedroom because it was pitch black, but she recognized it was her husband after feeling his facial hair when got on top of her in her bed.

Gillaspy said she was worried there was chemicals in the bag her husband had put over her head.

Because she was out of breath, Kelley said she couldn’t yell but did everything she could to let out a long and loud scream so her neighbors could hear.

While her husband was talking to her and one of the children in the living room about the incident and other family matters, Kelley Gillaspy said she wanted to do anything she could to get out of the house.

At one point, she said she walked away to go into the room of her other child and woke them up and told them that their dad is in their house.

She also testified she told her child, “If you hear me scream, call 911.”

Her husband would eventually leave the home but went into her bedroom to get the trash bag out of the bed, she said.

He put that trash bag in his front sweatshirt pocket before leaving the house, Kelley Gillaspy said.

The state is expected to continue its case this morning.

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