WILMINGTON —The arresting patrolman and state wildlife officers took the witness stand and recalled the day their colleague was shot.
On the second day of a scheduled three-day jury trial of Brian Liming, 44, of Jamestown — who allegedly shot an officer with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife — officers were called to the witness stand in Clinton County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday.
Wildlife officers were investigating a deer poaching complaint last December in the area of Macedonia Road and Martinsville Road when the shooting occurred.
According to authorities, Liming had exited the vehicle he was in, went into a wooded area where ODNR Officer Kevin Behr was, and fired a shot at what he thought was a deer.
One of the suspects, Bryan Achtermann, allegedly claimed the hunters had permission to be there from a relative of the property owners.
Liming reported hearing Behr scream. He said he found Behr, then ran out of the woods, told another suspect to call 911, and then “got nervous and fled the scene on foot.”
Among those taking the stand Tuesday was Sgt. Jeremy Grillot of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, who arrested Liming after the shooting.
As part of the testimony, the dashcam footage from Grillot’s cruiser was played. In the footage, Grillot questions and pats down Liming. In the video, Liming told Grillot he heard about a shooting and was trying to find the shooter. Grillot found that strange since Liming was doing this unarmed.
After being arrested, Grillot testified that Liming said he had shot Behr and he asked if the wounded officer was OK. Liming told Grillot while being transported to the crime scene that he shot into the woods in the hopes of chasing out a deer. He then heard Behr’s screams and, after telling one of his cohorts to call 911, he ran.
When asked why he ran, Liming said in the video, “I was scared. I was scared for myself.”
Jason Keller, who treated Behr at the scene, testified he found Behr bleeding and that Behr expressed that he felt pain in his groin area, but Keller was not able to find an exit wound.
Keller recalled Behr asking him not to leave him and to “tell my family I love them.”
Officer Behr was hospitalized, initially in critical condition, for nearly three months, and he underwent numerous surgeries.
Liming faces four charges including assault, a fourth-degree felony; tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony; and hunting without a deer permit and hunting without a licensem both third-degree misdemeanors. He is one of three men charged in relation to the incident.
ODNR Officer Matthew Hunt recalled being in contact with Liming after the shooting while he was dispatching himself to Clinton County in response to the incident.
“I got a call from him and he told me a trooper had a gun on him,” Hunt recalled. “I told him to do whatever the officer told him.”
Hunt advised that he lost contact with Liming after that, either from the call abruptly ending or the phone being dropped.
Hunt said he had been in contact with Liming before the “event” due to Hunt working out of Greene County, where Liming is from, and that he would be in contact with Liming as Liming had questions about hunting. Hunt advised that their relationship was purely a professional one.
The other two men originally charged in the case were Achtermann, 36, of Midland, and Thomas Davis, 35, of Jamestown.
Achtermann entered a no-contest plea to charges of hunting without a license and hunting deer without a permit in Clinton County Municipal Court. He was sentenced to 20 days suspended jail time, must take part in supervised probation, must forfeit his firearm to authorities, and is prohibited from hunting for six years.
Davis was charged with a prohibited action misdemeanor, which was later dismissed in Clinton County Municipal Court.
Liming pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful transport of firearms in U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio in August. Liming was ordered to forfeit a 20-gauge shotgun and eight 20-gauge shotgun shells to authorities.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574