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Matthew Brown's former girlfriend takes stand second day of trial
EUREKA- The trial for Matthew Brown continued Wednesday. He is the man accused of shooting and killing 49 year old Neil Decker of Alderpoint last July. Day two of trial revealed a world in which carrying firearms, using methamphetamine and cultivating marijuana is the norm.
When court resumed Wednesday morning, Johanna Hames continued her testimony, describing what she witnessed the night Neil Decker was fatally shot. Hames said she was in an office next to the bedroom with Decker that night, moments before the shooting took place.
Hames told the jury that Scott Johnson, her boyfriend and owner of the property, was talking with Brown inside the bedroom about a welder. Decker interjected twice during this conversation. According to Hames, Decker was not angry, but calm and annoyed. She overheard Brown cuss at Decker, and then a gunshot.
"I just remember that sound," Hames told the jury. "I thought it was a firecracker, not a gun shot. I thought that would be louder. I saw Neil grab his chest and fall back against the pipe."
Hames also clarified a possible reason Decker and Brown did not get along, an ongoing argument between Decker and Brown about locking a property gate.
"Everything was stupid. It was so dumb," Hames said to the jury. "It was over a locked gate, whether it was open or not. It was like a game. It was so stupid. I don't know how it came to this. It got out of control."
Mid-morning, a third witness was called to the stand, Brown's former girlfriend Kara Williams. While testifying, both Williams and Brown were emotional, with Brown putting his head down and crying for the first time in court.
Williams shed light on Brown's background having known him while living in the high desert prior to his move to Humboldt. Williams testified that Brown got into using meth after moving to the Rancho Sequoia property. Brown lived with Williams in a trailer on the property. She said as his use increased, Brown began sleeping less and becoming more paranoid.
Williams also clarified the gate situation, saying Brown would lock the gate to keep people off the property. That would anger Decker. But the problem was much deeper, with Decker allegedly threatening Brown with sexual assault. That and a pepper spray attack allegedly caused Brown to begin carrying a gun just weeks before the shooting took place. Williams insisted that Brown was truly afraid of Decker.
During questioning from the defense, Williams denied several statements accredited to her taken by investigators the days following the incident. She will continue her Wednesday tomorrow morning.