Fruita man guilty in slaying
A jury needed just a few hours of deliberation to return guilty verdicts in the trial of a Fruita man accused of fatally shooting his roommate.
Wayne Gert, 38, was convicted Wednesday of second-degree murder, menacing, and two counts of possession of explosive or incendiary devices. The jury acquitted Gert on a lone misdemeanor count of prohibited use of a weapon.
The jury’s verdicts were announced in District Judge Thomas Deister’s courtroom around 2:30 p.m., while word of a verdict spread just after the lunch hour at the Mesa County Justice Center. The jury gathered to start deliberation around 8:30 a.m. after hearing five days worth of testimony ending on Tuesday.
Gert, who had been free on bond, told the judge, “I understand, sir,” when Deister ordered him booked at the Mesa County Jail and held without bond following the verdicts.
Gert testified in his own defense, which centered around arguments that he felt threatened and acted in self defense when he fatally shot 37-year-old Henry Trisler Jr. in the head on May 21, 2010.
The men had been drinking several hours when attorneys said an argument escalated after Trisler insulted Gert’s girfriend, according to testimony.
Gert’s defense argued he was justified in shooting Trisler with a .357 revolver when Trisler suddenly lurched at Gert, who was sitting in a chair inside a trailer at 530 Virgo Way.
Gert will be sentenced on Dec. 20.