By Mitchell Banks
The trial of a Seymour man accused of a Level 1 felony charge of aggravated battery inflicting injury that causes permanent disfigurement resumed Friday in Jackson Circuit Court in Brownstown.
Matthew Scott Gillaspy, 45, is being represented by the defense team of William Dillon and Mark Dove, and Senior Prosecutor David Owen Thomas represents the prosecution in court.
On Thursday, Kelley Gillaspy, the woman that Gillaspy allegedly attacked, gave a testimony in court.
After Matthew left her house that night, Kelley said she was shocked to learn the idea to cause harm to her came from her child that was in bed with her when Matthew came into her house and attempted to put a trash bag over her head.
She also said her child admitted to moving a coat rack that was in the way of the house’s back door to allow Matthew to enter that night. The child also unlocked the back door.
Another child was in another room in the house when Matthew was in the home.
When he left, Kelley told the child about what happened with her husband. Kelley said she was worried about calling the police, but her child told her, “If you don’t call, I’ll call.” Kelley then called the police.
A photo was shown in court of Kelley’s face that was taken Aug. 20, 2019. It shows two scratches on her face — one to the left of her left eye and another under her left eye.
The defense said police also were called approximately an hour after Matthew left, that one of the children in the house was stopped during questioning by police by Kelley and that no one had checked the parking situation in front of the house to know that Matthew parked down the road.
On Tuesday, the child who was in the same bed as Kelley when Matthew entered her home gave a testimony.
On the night before the incident, Matthew told the child, “I need you to help in killing your mom.” The child also said they were falling asleep when Matthew said that.
Recalling the night Matthew entered the home, the child said they woke up and looked over to see him in the bedroom. They said Matthew “dashed” toward Kelley and put his hand over her mouth.
When Kelley told the child to go get the other child in the house, the child said they tripped over a trash bag trying to leave the room.
Afterward, Matthew repeatedly begged to the child, “Don’t say anything.”
Talking to the child in court, the defense questioned why they wouldn’t do anything if they knew Matthew would enter the house to harm Kelley. The child also confirmed Matthew had not been in the home in the two weeks that the family was staying there.
Dillon questioned how Matthew would have known about a coat rack to tell the child to move it. The child said they didn’t know.
Discrepancies about the child’s testimony were noted by Dillon in court, like how the child initially told officers the trash bag used was clear but later said it was white and even said at one point there wasn’t any trash bag.
Once Kelley mentioned Matthew tried to kill her, Dillon said only then did the child say anything about an attempted murder.
In one deposition, the child said Matthew had not even been in the bed of the home on the night he entered.
Thomas said there were consistencies in the child’s statement, like how Matthew was in the doorway of the bedroom and charged toward Kelley and also told the child he needed help killing Kelley.
The child had also said in all of their statements that a bag was put over Kelley’s face.
Dove said in court that he didn’t understand how the jury could or couldn’t believe the child because of the discrepancies in their statements.
Also Tuesday, Seymour Police Department Lt. C.J. Foster was called as a witness from the defense.
Dove asked Foster how he carries out criminal investigations, and Foster said he does not search for evidence with an intent to convict and looks at all facts surrounding a case.
As to why the child was telling inconsistencies across their statements, Foster said the child went through a traumatic situation and their memory could have been clouded out of shock.
A box of trash bags in the home that Matthew was in was not checked for fingerprints by Foster. As to why the box wasn’t dusted for fingerprints, Foster said he didn’t think it would be necessary since Matthew’s fingerprints would have been all over the home.
The alleged trash bag used to cover Kelley’s face was never found by police.
On Wednesday morning, SPD Assistant Chief Greg O’Brien gave a testimony in court as an investigator of the case.
He said a search warrant was carried out the afternoon on the same day the incident occurred.
In the home where Matthew was arrested, a laundry basket was found with the black sweatshirt he was wearing when he went to Kelley’s home. No evidentiary items were found in his bedroom or in his truck.
O’Brien also said police never searched for the trash bag that Matthew used, but trash bags were collected as samples at the home.
The child that also present at the home gave a testimony Wednesday. They said they woke up to a scream but went back to sleep because the house was quiet when they were awake and they thought it might have been a nightmare they heard.
Jackson County Jail Sgt. Bill Drees appeared in court to verify letters he found in the jail while Matthew was incarcerated. While the contents of the letter were only presented to the jury, it was later revealed they were suicide notes written to be sent to members of his family.
Matthew also took to the stand Wednesday.
The Friday before he entered Kelley’s home, he said a complete divorce settlement had been reached. One child would be able to see both parents freely, and the other could only spend half of their time with him.
The divorce had not been finalized since Matthew was arrested.
He described the divorce as not being friendly and had an issue with how much time he would have with his children since he wanted joint custody and Kelley wanted sole custody.
While there were arguments about how to split properties and credit card debt, Matthew said he was mainly concerned with his time with his children. Because he hadn’t seen his kids in two years, Matthew said he has had to pay higher child support.
The Friday and Saturday before the incident, Matthew spent time with one of his children. On Sunday, he spent time with the same child and dropped them off with Kelley at approximately 6 p.m.
Before being dropped off, he said the child was upset about the divorce and encouraged Matthew to talk to Kelley one more time.
Matthew eventually entered the home at 2 a.m. that night and said the reason it was late was because he was debating on whether he should go.
He also denied saying to the child that they should help kill Kelley. If he had done that, Matthew said the child would have told their mother immediately.
Matthew said he entered the home through the back door, took his shoes off because that was customary in the homes he had lived in, went into the doorway of the bedroom and Kelley woke up. He said when he walked toward the bed, Kelley hugged him.
When the child in bed woke up, he said all three hugged each other. Matthew denied having a trash bag when entering the home.
Matthew said he parked his vehicle across the street one house over because there were other cars parked in the road on the side he was driving on.
When he got home after leaving Kelley’s home, Matthew said he got a text from her saying to check with her when she got home and also called her.
In the phone conversation, he wanted Kelley to promise she wouldn’t tell anyone about entering the home without permission.
Before Kelley sent that text that night, Matthew had sent a text saying he missed quality time with Kelley and their family and that he missed her. He also sent a kissing face emoji.
At home, Matthew said he drank a beer and went to sleep. He was eventually woken up by a call from SPD and met Officer Michael Payne at the door.
When asked why he thought police were at the home, Matthew said it was because he went into he ex-wife’s home without permission. He was then arrested and taken to the police station for questioning.
Matthew admitted to lying in questioning when he said a child didn’t unlock the back door to the home. The reason for this was because he didn’t want to hurt his relationship with his child.
Regarding the suicide notes, Matthew said he was at the absolute lowest point in his life because he was worried about going to prison for the rest of his life for a crime he didn’t commit.
Thomas asked Matthew if they would agree that he shouldn’t have been in Kelley’s home but was disputing whether he had a trash bag. Matthew agreed.
The prosecution also said there were times that Matthew could have talked to Kelley, like when dropping off their child after visitation, but didn’t use those opportunities.
Comparing the discrepancies from one of his children in court to how Matthew lied to police about his child not unlocking the back door of the home, Thomas wondered why it would be OK for him to lie but not the child.
Matthew said he has never argued that police did anything wrong and that lying to the police is not OK.
He also said the reason for entering the home was to talk to Kelley in person, rather than on the phone or over texts.