Sen Trial: Day 2 Gun Testimony

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A total of fourteen witnesses testified in 4th Judicial District Court Tuesday. The State vs. Dharminder Vir Sen trial concluded Day 2 with law enforcement representatives and various friends and acquaintances providing information to the 13-member jury.

Of the law enforcement officials who testified, Deputy Steve Matheson with the Sheridan County Sheriff's Office explained that he initially was part of an investigation the afternoon of August 26, 2009 looking for a runaway juvenile by the name of Devon Crowshoe. He had received a report that Crowshoe had been seen with a Riley Larkins at Video Depot, and as Matheson made his way there, he received word from the Sheriff's Office to go out to Larkins' residence on Pierce Lane west of Sheridan.

Matheson did so, along with Deputy Mike Hamilton. No one was at the Larkins' home -- Riley lived with his grandparents -- but as the two deputies headed back toward Sheridan, they saw a green and tan Chevy pick-up matching the description of Riley Larkins' vehicle heading for the house.

Matheson made the traffic stop, believing that the passenger with Larkins was Crowshoe. It was, in fact, Dharminder Sen. Matheson approached the driver's side of the truck and received Larkins' id; he asked the passenger if he was Devon Crowshoe; Sen responded that no, he wasn't, but that he'd been mistaken for Crowshoe before.

While they were speaking with the the two -- Hamilton was on the passenger side -- Deputy Salyards of the SO arrived, joined not long thereafter by Larkins' grandmother. Salyards told Matheson that he had heard from then Patrol Sgt. Ryan Mulhullond that Larkins may have information regarding the shooting at the Ernst home. The traffic stop then took on a different tone. Matheson and Hamilton were instructed to put Sen into investigative custody, while Mulholland, who had by then arrived, put Riley Larkins into investigative custody.

Ryan Mulholland, now in private business, took the stand and added his part to the traffic stop testimony. While Mulholland questioned Larkins, he received a call from Sheridan Police Detective Sgt. Tom Henry instructing him that Sen may be involved in the shooting and to bring Larkins and Sen back to the police station for investigative detention.

Mulholland cuffed Larkins behind his back and took him in; Matheson and Hamilton did the same with Sen. Mulholland also called for a tow truck to bring the green pick-up in to be searched.

Consent to Search forms were obtained from Riley's grandparents to search their property for the weapon used in the Ernst shooting; Riley consented at the PD to have his truck searched.

Mulholland told the Court that he and four other law enforcement officials searched the truck, a green stocking hat on the floorboard, and the 9 mm handgun in a holster, tucked underneath the passenger seat where Sen had been sitting. The magazine of the gun contained two unfired bullet cartridges. Prosecutor Matt Redle showed photos to the jury of those search results.

Last to testify was Sheridan resident Thomas Hatch, who on August 26, 2009 lived at 748 S. Thurmond. He owned a white pick-up truck that he had left unlocked, parked next to his garage. In the glove compartment of the truck, he'd kept a 9 mm handgun in a holster.

His wife, who worked at the jail, had heard regarding the Ernst shooting that the weapon used may have been a 9mm handgun reportedly stolen from the Thurmond neighborhood. Knowing Thomas had a gun like that, she called him on August 27th, and he told her to look in the glove compartment of the truck. The gun was missing.

He told the Court that the magazine could hold eight cartridges, which confirmed the number of bullets referred to during previous testimony: three casings in the Ernst home; three casings at the Acme Pits; and the two unfired bullets in the magazine found in Larkins' truck.

Hatch also testified that he kept receipts on all guns he purchased, and he had a receipt showing the serial number on his stolen gun. Prosecutor Matt Redle showed him a photo of the serial number partially scratched on the gun found in the truck. The number matched the receipt. Hatch said there had not been any scratch marks on it before it had been stolen.

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