BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Witnesses in
the trial of a man charged in a deadly Labor Day 2012 shooting said that not only did they see the harassment that William Woodward suffered at the hands of three neighbors, they were also victims.
Prosecutors said Woodward left his house, crossed the street
and fired 31 rounds, killing two of his unarmed neighbors, Gary Hembree and Roger Picior. A third victim, Bruce Blake, would have met the same fate, but Woodward ran out of ammunition, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors have taken
issue with Woodward's claim that he was "standing his ground" on someone else's property. Prosecutors pointed out that none of the other neighbors got into an armed confrontation with the victims.
But two of the witnesses said they were concerned enough about
threats made by the victims that they armed themselves when they let their dog out.
The witnesses said things went from bad to worse on Smith Drive in Titusville in the days leading up to the shooting on Sept. 3, 2012. They testified that obscenities and threats were shouted for hours in the neighborhood that night.
Woodward's attorneys said
Woodward shot the men to defend himself and his family. They said the threats included arson and assaulting Woodward's then-12-year-old daughter. The attorneys argued that Woodward was trying to prevent a violent crime from being committed against his family.
Witnesses Scott and Lydia Crow said they heard plenty of threats made by the three men toward the Woodwards.
"You felt when somebody is out there saying, 'We're going to kill you,' and that somebody is going boom, boom, boom," Lydia Crow said.
"It got so bad I didn't want to come home. I knew for four or five hours, it was all I was going to hear outside the house coming through the windows in the house," Scott Crow said.
Prosecutors said some of
Woodward's first words to police call the defense's argument into question.
"He describes them as his prey to the officer. That's why he stalked them," assistant state attorney Gary Beatty said.
Witness testimony is expected to continue Wednesday at the Brevard County Courthouse.