By Will E Sanders
TROY — Jurors in the Patrick McGail murder case heard opening statements from the prosecution and the defense Wednesday in common pleas court during the second day of the trial. In addition, 10 witnesses also took the stand to shed light on the murder of Nathan Wintrow, 20.
McGail, 18, of Troy, has been charged with murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary, with firearm specifications, in the Oct. 30, 2013, death of Wintrow.
In his opening statements, Miami County Prosecutor Anthony Kendell outlined the time line of the case, saying on the night of the murder Wintrow, his girlfriend Saddie Barker, and his best friend Kyle Ratcliffe were smoking marijuana and eating supper when they heard glass break in the rear of the residence, located at 218 E. Canal St., Troy. Also in the home that night was Wintrow’s 2-year-old daughter, Braxton.
Upon investigating, Kendell said, the three discovered two masked men in a laundry room who began yelling, “Get the (expletive deleted) on the ground” repeatedly, followed by a wrestling match and a gunshot to Wintrow’s head.
Kendell said McGail’s two co-defendants, Jason C. Sowers II, 17, and Brendon A. Terrel, 19, both of Troy, were apprehended within minutes of the shooting while an injured McGail went to the home of his girlfriend and told her he had been at Wintrow’s house.
Sowers, who fired the fatal shot, and Terrel, who served as a look-out, pleaded to their actions on the night of the crime in a plea agreement that stipulates their “substantial assistance” in prosecuting McGail, including their testimony against him at trial. Both teens will be sentenced following the conclusion of the trial.
Kendell said DNA evidence linking McGail to the home — found on a white mask and a knife found in the backyard of the murder scene — could not exclude McGail as being a contributor down to 772 and 13 quadrillion of the human population, respectively. Or, as Kendell later stated, “the population of the world trillions of times.”
Defense attorney Christopher Bucio countered in his opening statements by telling the jury that no single piece of evidence could make a link to show that his client was inside the home on the night of the murder.
“That’s because my client, Patrick McGail, was never in the house on that night,” Bucio told the jury of six men and six women.
Bucio claimed that a well-known Troy drug dealer was the “ringleader” of the murder, not his client.
“Teenagers don’t kill drug dealers,” he began his opening statements, “drug dealers kill drug dealers.”
According to testimony, Wintrow was known to sell drugs, and Bucio maintained a rival drug dealer sent McGail’s co-defendants to the home to send a message to Wintrow by robbing him of money and marijuana.
Barker, sobbing, and Ratcliffe both took the witness stand and testified to the horror they underwent on the night of the murder. Ratcliffe hip-tossed one of the masked intruders to the ground while he grabbed the leg of the other during the home invasion. Barker struck another intruder in the head and shoved him against the wall just before Wintrow was shot at point-blank range in the head. As the two intruders tried to flee, Barker tossed one over a deck railing while Ratcliffe threw a knife at another fleeing, would-be robber.
Also testifying during the second day of the trial were several Troy police officers, many of which stated three masks — all in the style of the movie “V for Vendetta” — were recovered from either McGail’s co-defendants or at the scene of the crime. Also recovered were two 9mm guns; one in Sowers’ vehicle and another near Wintrow’s deck.
In addition, a custodian of records pertaining to cell phones, cell phone calls and text messages took the stand, as did two members from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations, who testified about processing the crime scene evidence.
Also during the second day of the trial, the prosecution asked for a mistrial after Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Gee said he erred in allowing Bucio to play a 9-1-1 tape from a call Barker made six days after the murder for the jury.
While Gee admitted the court’s error, he overruled the motion for a mistrial, but not before Kendell said of the tape’s playing, “I don’t think there is any recovery from that.”
The jury was instead told to disregard the eight-minute call to 9-1-1.
The trial is scheduled for four days, though there is a possibility the trial could continue into next week.
McGail, out on bond, was 17 at the time of the murder and he, along with Sowers, are both being tried as adults.
Will E Sanders may be reached at 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.