WARSAW — Testimony continued today in the Scott Wilkins trial with witness accounts not quite matching up.
The trial for Scott Wilkins, 37, 136 N. Main St., Milford, continued today with Karin McGrath, deputy prosecuting attorney, calling Officer Derek Crider, Milford Deputy Marshal, to the witness stand.
Crider stated upon the witness stand he was the first to arrive at CR 1350N, just north of Milford, the site of the Dec. 27, 2014, accident that took the life of Kami L. Ellis, Nappanee. Other first responders arrived within minutes, he reported.
Crider said after the fire was out there was an unidentified body in the passenger seat. He also stated when he could see the license plate and bumper of the car, the vehicle was one he recognized seeing around town as belonging to Vicki Lynn Simmons, 62, Milford. He began to look for the missing driver.
Crider stated he walked “a good half-mile” on both sides of the field next to the accident scene searching for the driver of the vehicle, but didn’t find another person. Crider’s shift was ending, but he decided to put on his night vision headset to possibly see if anyone was lying in the field on his way back to Milford.
Crider drove to the Turf Bar, 118 S Main St, Milford, and went inside to inquire if anyone had seen Simmons or Wilkins, having been told to be in a relationship together. Crider was told that Wilkins lived in the apartments above a retail store called the T Zone, 138 S Main St, Milford. Crider went up the stairs of the building and knocked on a few apartment doors looking for Wilkins. One of those doors belonged to Kyra Davis.
Davis, waitress at Whetten’s Pizza, Milford, was placed upon the witness stand next. Davis stated, “Officer Crider pounded on my door, which scared me half to death.” Crider asked if Davis knew which apartment Wilkins lived in and Davis pointed it out. When Crider knocked there was no answer. After Crider left, Davis said she knew something was wrong and couldn’t sleep.
Davis was still awake two hours later when she said she looked out her front window when movement caught her eye. She said she saw Wilkins across the street in the bushes in front of the PNC bank. Davis said Wilkins looked in the direction of the police officers who were just at his apartment before coming out of the bushes. “I kept watching and sure enough he comes out like he was hiding,” stated Davis.
Davis stated Wilkins then sprinted across the street and up the back stairs to his apartment. Davis said the first things she did was call Wilkins’ roommate, Robert Emerick because she was scared. She told Emerick that Wilkins was in the apartment and Emerick came back to the apartment. Davis said Emerick was surprised and shocked by what he saw and very scared.
Simmons was reported to have been standing in the hallway when Emerick entered the apartment building, “Like she had known to come back,” stated Davis. Davis said Simmons was whispering, “Scott, Scott” at Wilkins’ apartment door.
Davis said she entered the apartment as Emerick did and said Emerick went through the apartment yelling Wilkins’ name. Davis said Wilkins was in the bathroom washing off the mud and blood from the accident and hike through the fields to get back to the apartment.
Davis said Wilkins’ was very calm, unlike Emerick who she said was visibly shaken and scared. Wilkins she said kept saying, “Calm down, get me some clothes.” Wilkins allegedly turned to Simmons and said, “Get me out of here.”
Davis said Wilkins was very calm “Like he knew what to do.” Davis said Wilkins told Emerick to “clean up and get rid of his clothes before the cops come.” Davis said they called the police right after Wilkins and Simmons left.
Emerick was the next up to the witness stand, but his testimony didn’t match that of his neighbor, Kyra Davis. Emerick stated that he and Wilkins were roommates, not friends, but more of acquaintances. He said Wilkins was letting him stay there to be closer to his work.
McGrath then asked Emerick if he could recall the night of the accident. Emerick stated that he was at The Turf because it was a going away party for the owner, who was moving away. He said there was “plenty of drinking,” but nothing out of the ordinary until Crider came in asking about Wilkins’ whereabouts. Emerick stated he tried to call and text Wilkins, but there was no response.
Emerick went to his apartment building, walked up the stairs and stated he saw Davis and Simmons talking in the hallway. He said he didn’t hear what they were talking about and entered the apartment to find Wilkins in the bathroom showering and that he looked “pretty banged up.”
Emerick stated Wilkins just kept repeating, I f….. up. Emerick said he wasn’t “needling” him with questions. He said Wilkins didn’t ask for anyone to call 911, didn’t ask for an ambulance, nor any kind of medical attention. All he said was “Get me out of here” to Simmons. Emerick said he left no instructions, just “got his clothes, got dressed and left.”
Mark Caruso, attorney for Wilkins, asked Emerick how Wilkins’ demeanor was. Emerick stated, “He wasn’t himself.” Caruso then asked, “Did he seem like a man with a plan at that point?”
Emerick gave a quick and emphatic, “No.”
Both Davis and Emerick agreed that Wilkins left with Simmons.
Before the lunch break, James Michael Smith, Kosciusko Sheriff’s Department, opened evidence bags containing Wilkins’ muddy clothes for the jury to inspect. The bags contained muddy items; a pair of jeans, a blue shirt, grey sweater and yellow socks with numerous holes.