MASON CITY | About 6:30 a.m. Dec. 2, 2016, Mason City police investigator Terrance Prochaska began his interview with Larry Whaley.
On Wednesday afternoon, Prochaska detailed much of that conversation with a Cerro Gordo County jury, which will soon determine if Whaley is guilty or not guilty of the second-degree murder in the shooting of 19-year-old Samantha Teeter.
Prochaska testified Wednesday that Whaley told him he felt threatened by Corey Mays the entire week leading up to the incident, and believed Mays had a key to his apartment and a gun.
Much of his testimony described the Dec. 1 timeline Whaley told him. That included Whaley renting a hotel room at the Days Inn for himself and Deb Ewing — the only other person in his apartment when he fired his .44-caliber revolver.
Before that, Whaley, Ewing, Samantha Teeter and Kalab Van Scyoc, Teeter’s boyfriend, had bought ammunition and a cell phone at Walmart in Mason City, shortly after 7 p.m. Dec. 1, Prochaska testified.
Whaley had previously bought the revolver earlier that day from a Charles City man, named Charles, for $500, Prochaska added.
Prochaska’s timeline was dense, but it eventually put Ewing, Whaley, Teeter and Van Scyoc back at his apartment late that night. Whaley left to go see a friend and then to buy a TV and groceries from Walmart before returning.
As Whaley was doing that, Teeter and Van Scyoc got into an argument, and then eventually left the apartment with Whaley’s key, Prochaska testified. When Whaley returned, Ewing told him they had left, and that Teeter said she would return.
Whaley then proceeded to insert two kitchen knives into his front doorjamb — Prochaska detailed this to the jury and demonstrated it on the door itself, which was brought into the courtroom Wednesday morning. Whaley then sat on his one of his couches with his revolver.
The next sequence detailed the shooting itself, which occurred about 3:43 a.m. Dec. 2, 2016.
“He saw the doorknob starting to move,” Prochaska testified. “And then he said he heard knocking.”
“He said he got up, walked over to the door, and shot through it,” he later added.
Prochaska later clarified that Whaley shot three shots total, and only yelled for someone to get away from his door after he first fired through it. He detailed how Whaley described the shooting, standing up and mimicking how it occurred—one shot through the door, a pause, then two shots to the right.
In State Public Defender Mike Adams’ cross-examination, he asked whether Whaley was nervous about Corey Mays, who was allegedly involved in a shooting in the plaza near the north entrance to Soutbridge Mall Oct. 16, 2017.
Prochaska stated Whaley told him this in the initial interview, and that “he was hoping Corey behind the door” instead of Teeter. He added immediate recollections of events can be jumbled because of how stressful a shooting situation is.
Iowa Assistant Attorney General Douglas Hammerand followed up by questioning Prochaska if Whaley said he was confused when he was being interviewed Dec. 2, 2016. The Mason City police investigator said he hadn’t.
The state’s last witness was Dr. Ross Reichard, a pathologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Reichard performed the autopsy on Teeter Dec. 5, 2016, a day after she died.
Reichard testified he ruled Teeter’s death a homicide based off medical records and the autopsy. Photos of that autopsy, released in court, showed Teeter had been shot through her right eye.
Testimony ended about 3:10 p.m. Wednesday, and the defense is expected to begin calling witnesses tomorrow. Judge Christopher Foy said earlier Wednesday that he hopes to hand the case to the jury by the end of this week.
MASON CITY | Around 10:45 a.m. Wednesday morning, Cerro Gordo County Attorney Carlyle Dalen and Iowa Assistant Attorney General Douglas Hammerand carried in a white door into Courtroom No. 1 at the Cerro Gordo County Courthouse.
That door contained the hole where a bullet traveled through and hit 19-year-old Samantha Teeter in the head. Teeter died two days later in the hospital.
Larry Whaley, 61, of Mason City, has been charged with second-degree murder in Teeter's death. Police say Whaley shot Teeter through the door of his second-floor apartment in southeastern Mason City on Dec. 2, 2016.
Dalen and Hammerand's argument is that Whaley was not justified in shooting through his apartment door. State public defenders Mike Adams and Jill Eimermann argue he was acting in self-defense, and thought another person was behind the door.
Much of Wednesday morning's testimony focused on how the gun functioned, and physical evidence tied to the crime scene. Victor Murillo, a firearms expert who works in the state's Division of Criminal Investigation, told the jury how he examined the .44-caliber revolver that was recovered at Whaley's apartment the morning of the shooting.
He also handled the gun itself, and explained its different parts and how it works.
Another expert witness who testified Wednesday was Dennis Kern, a fingerprint expert with the DCI. He said no conclusive fingerprints could be found on the gun, but did say a box of bullets recovered at the crime scene was missing five bullets.
Multiple law enforcement officials who have testified in the trial said five rounds were found in the gun's chamber, but only three were fired. Pictures shown to the jury revealed one shot was fired from inside Whaley's apartment through his front door, and two to the right of the door.
Testimony is expected to continue Wednesday afternoon.