Murder Trial, Part 5

[updated 11/26/08 @ 9:55am]

I was unable to attend Monday’s testimony. Visit the
Athens Herald-Banner for their excellent reporting. In particular, watch the video. After testimony by David Prince, at 3:15 into the video, a medical examiner testifies about the wounds sustained by the deceased. Missing from the online report, I’m sure due to space reasons, is that autopsy pictures of Bryan showed that he was wearing a shirt with the slogan, “It’s just a flesh wound!”. Monty Python fans know that this is from their 1975 movie, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. Mr. Tolley, the defense attorney, tried to use this to show Bryan’s supposed “aggressive” nature. (see also here). According to Mr. Mough, this backfired, so that several jurors and even the judge chuckled at this attempt. This slogan is not based on aggression, but on high farce and defiance -- a “never say die” attitude. Mr. Mough viewed this as Bryan’s last laugh.

This particular example of Python humor can be seen
here on YouTube.


A Georgia State Patrol collision reconstruction expert testified that the motorcycle was traveling 26 to 28 MPH when it crashed. From previous testimony, the Oconee City Sheriff’s Office bought a Kawasaki EX250 bike in order to reconstruct elements of the events. In particular, using a professional motorcycle rider, they attempted time trials on the loop around N. Church, Main, and Broad streets. Starting the bike in second gear, they measured the following:
  1. Normal start: 27.2 mph @ 232 ft.
  2. Revving start #1: 48.8 mph @ 247 ft.
  3. Revving start #2: 54.7 mph @ 285.3 ft.
We can use the formula: vfinal2=vinitial2+2ad and solve for the acceleration of the motorcycle:
  1. 1.05 m/s2
  2. 3.16 m/s2
  3. 3.44 m/s2
Let’s use the highest acceleration, 3.44 m/s2, and determine how far it would take the bike to get to 26 mph using the same formula. It turns out to be 64.42 feet. Gear has said that Bryan went past the Gear’s driveway, “whipped around” on his bike, and charged at him. In order to reach the low range of speed determined by the Georgia State Patrol - 26 mph - at the highest acceleration that could be obtained on the bike by a professional driver, Brian had to be about 64 feet away when he turned around. If his acceleration was 3.16 m/s2 then he had to be 70 feet away. If he reached 28 mph, he had to be at least 74 feet away.

The physics also shows that the motorcycle would have under four seconds to reach the final velocity. So testimony shows that the third and fatal shot was fired at least a minute after the first two. Unless my math is way off, I think this conclusively disproves the claim that Bryan “whipped around” and charged Gear.
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