Trial nearly at end for man accused of shooting another

Closing arguments are expected today in the trial of an Orchard Mesa man accused of shooting another man in the abdomen after an altercation near his rural home.

Charles Ettinger took the stand in his defense Wednesday and testified that he showed a rifle to intimidate, but didn’t intend to shoot at, four people who surrounded his truck during an incident early in the morning of Feb. 24, 2008.

During a scuffle that ensued, James Dodd, then 26, was shot in the stomach by Ettinger’s rifle.

Ettinger said he did not know Dodd had been shot until he and the three other men attempted to load the man into a vehicle.

Ettinger said Dodd, who was carrying a beer bottle and appeared “wasted,” rushed at
Ettinger three times, but Dodd’s friend, Gilbert Manzanares, pushed him away.

Ettinger testified that Manzanares pulled a knife and threatened to cut Ettinger’s throat after Ettinger told the group that he was armed and revealed his rifle.

Manzanares, who testified Tuesday, said he did not threaten Ettinger and did not remember pulling out his knife. Manzanares attempted to push Ettinger’s weapon away when it discharged, he testified.

Ettinger said he was leaving for work at about 3:30 a.m. from his home at 152 Wilson Road when he noticed a pickup with four people inside pull into the driveway of an abandoned trailer home next to his property.

Ettinger said the driver of the pickup flashed its lights “and it seemed like they challenged me,” which made him nervous, so he went back to his home to get his rifle before confronting them, according to his arrest affidavit.

Ettinger is charged with second-degree assault causing serious bodily injury, violent crime, felony menacing and prohibited use of a weapon.


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