WARSAW — Scott DeHart, father of defendant Kyle DeHart, was the lone witness for either of the defendants in what appears to be the final day in trial of the accused murders of Tara Thornburg and Josh Knisley on Feb. 19, 2015.
The morning session was underway by 8:29 a.m. with Larry Hansen, counsel for DeHart, calling his client’s father to the stand. Scott DeHart’s testimony lasted approximately 30 minutes.
When given the opportunity to present any evidence or witnesses on behalf of Brandon Woody, Scott Lennox, counsel for Woody, stated he had no evidence or witnesses. Having no other rebuttal evidence by the state, the court recessed shortly after 9 a.m. to prepare final instructions for the jury and allow attorneys to prepare closing statements.
During testimony, Scott DeHart, a teacher and coach for the past 26 years, and a former athletic director, stated his wife and three children: Allison, who passed away approximately five years ago; Kyle and Ben, had resided at the residence on North CR 450E, Syracuse, and the four of them were residing there at the time of the murders. It was also noted he volunteered to testify.
Scott DeHart testified nothing unusual happened the day of Feb. 18 at the residence. He testified seeing his son at the residence and no one else between the hours of 10:45 p.m. and 12:30 a.m., basing those times on television shows he was watching. He even testified to talking to his son on several occasions.
Noted earlier in Scott DeHart’s testimony was the fact all three of the DeHart children had been adopted. Scott DeHart was asked his son’s age and noted he was born in 1992, but could not get the age correct stating he had a hard time remembering birth dates. He also testified that he has known his son since he was a few days old.
“I love Kyle very much,” his father testified, adding he would not be making things up to save him.
During questioning of the prosecution, which focused on how he could remember times that evening, but not the dates of the birthdays, Scott DeHart stated he was advised by investigators to make notes, which he did several days after the murder. Dan Hampton, prosecutor, asked why that information was never provided to authorities, Scott DeHart stated “No one ever asked me for it.”
Scott DeHart also testified that he never saw Brandon Woody at his residence that evening, and did not know his wife, Joan, had taken Woody from the residence until after she came back and told him she had. Scott DeHart also testified that between 5:15-6 a.m. on Feb. 19, he and his wife went to see Kyle in his room and ask what was going on. Scott DeHart testified his son was at the home when he left for work around 7 a.m.
During questioning by Lennox, Scott DeHart stated that 99 percent of the time when his son had friends over he would investigate who was present. He also testified that there is a separate entrance to the man cave and he would not be aware of any entry or exits from that area.
Hansen asked Scott DeHart to carefully examine the tennis shoes admitted into evidence before asking if those were his. Scott DeHart testified they were not as he wears size 12. During recross questioning, Hampton brought up the fact Ashlyn Sheperd had testified those had been seen at the DeHart residence. “I know those are not my shoes,” Scott DeHart noted.