By Roger McKinney
COLUMBUS, Kan. — Both Derrell Henkle and Steven Tyner called 911 on June 23, 2006, and Cherokee County dispatcher Jennifer Estrada took both calls.
Tyner is standing trial on a charge of first-degree murder, alleging that he shot and killed Brenda Brock, and a charge of attempted first-degree murder, alleging that he shot and tried to kill Henkle. The defense contends that Henkle shot Brock, and that Tyner then wrestled the gun away from Henkle and shot him.
The jury on Tuesday was provided with transcripts of 911 recordings and police radio traffic that night. Hardly anything could be ascertained when the recordings were played for the jury. The trial continues today in Cherokee County District Court in Columbus.
“Yes. Hi. I’m out here at the Boston Mill, and I need the cops to come out here,” Tyner told the dispatcher, according to the transcript. “They are coming out here. Never mind.”
The dispatcher asked the caller to identify himself, and the caller said he was Steven Tyner, spelling his last name for the dispatcher.
The dispatcher asked him what was happening.
“I’m going to lay down on the ground and let the officers take me into custody,” Tyner told the dispatcher.
Tyner left his cell phone on as police officers arrived, and the transcript reads that they ordered him to get on the ground.
“She’s dead,” Tyner told the officers. “I picked her up off the road. Oh God, that was my woman.”
A few moments later, Tyner told the officers that he shot Henkle because Henkle shot Brock.
“You don’t understand,” Tyner said, according to the transcript, to an unidentified officer. “Come here, please, I need to talk to you. I shot that guy right there because he shot my woman.”
Tyner at times referred to Brock as his wife, but they weren’t married.
“Oh, my God,” Tyner said, sounding on the tape as if he were crying. “I shot him. I’m so sorry. Oh, my God, what have I done? Oh, my God.”
Moments later, the transcript reads, he told officers that he hoped Henkle would die for shooting Brock.
Tyner told police that he wrestled the rifle away from Henkle and shot him with it. He asked police if he was in trouble, and bizarrely told officers that his insurance papers were in his sport utility vehicle, which also contained Brock’s body.
“I’ve been shot,” the transcript reads as being Henkle’s first words to the dispatcher. He said he was at the river but didn’t know the specific location.
“He’s after me right now,” Henkle said, adding moments later that someone was trying to kill him.
Henkle later in the conversation said he was shot four times. When asked who shot him, Henkle said Steven Tyner, but it was spelled in that portion of the transcript as “Tayner.”
“I don’t know,” Henkle said. “I can’t talk. I’ve been shot. I need help. I’m going down.”
He described the campsite along Spring River for the dispatcher, and Estrada told him to apply pressure to his wounds.
Henkle said he was hiding in the woods, and that his assailant was approaching.
Henkle didn’t mention Brock during the call. Estrada confirmed that when asked by Tyner’s attorney, Sam Marsh. Estrada said she didn’t know there was another victim, based on her conversation with Henkle.
Estrada in the transcript asked Henkle if anyone else was in the area with him, and Henkle said there wasn’t.
Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Irwin testified about arriving at the campsite nearly simultaneously with Cherokee County sheriff’s Deputy Chris Hardison. He said they both encountered Henkle, whose torso was bloody, and ordered him on the ground. Irwin said he then saw Tyner near the campsite and ordered him on the ground.
Irwin said Tyner was angry and told him that he had taken the gun from Henkle and shot him because Henkle had shot Brock. Irwin said Tyner didn’t explain how he had wrestled the rifle away from Henkle.
Irwin said he found Brock’s body in the front passenger seat of the SUV, a rifle resting against her left leg with the barrel pointed toward the floor.
Jurors on Tuesday viewed crime-scene photos, including photos of Brenda Brock’s body in the passenger seat of a sport utility vehicle. In one, a pet dachshund is shown protecting the body from the photographer.
By Roger McKinney
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