CLARKSVILLE (KFSM) -- The first round of witnesses was called to the stand Wendesday (May 25) in Fred Kauffeld's capital murder trial taking place at the Johnson County Courthouse in Clarksville.
Kauffeld is charged with two counts of capital murder, two counts of attempted capital murder and burglary after investigators said he shot and killed Johnson County Reserve Deputy Sonny Smith in the early morning hours of May 15, 2015.
The jury heard from several witnesses today, including Nancy Deatherage and Billy Nobles, who lived together in the home Kauffeld is accused of burglarizing.
In his opening statements made Tuesday, Kauffeld's defense attorney Bill James said his client was part of a love triangle involving Deatherage and Nobles.
When Deatherage took the stand Wednesday she told Prosecutor David Gibbons she had had a relationship with Kauffeld for two months prior to the shooting.
Deatherage said she called Kauffeld May 14, 2015 asking him to pick her up from Nobles' home after he had slapped her, which Nobles denied in his testimony. After dropping Deatherage off at his home in Clarksville, Kauffeld told her he was going to run an errand, but never came back. Deatherage said she found out about the shooting and Kauffeld's arrest around 2 a.m. on May 15 when Nobles called to tell her about it.
Deputies who responded along with Smith that night testified Nobles called 911 saying his house had been broken into and several items were missing.
Nobles told the jury he slashed two of Kauffeld's car tires when he saw Kauffeld got into his house. He also said he had shot at Kauffeld and searched for him for two hours before calling 911.
When he made the 911 call, Nobles said he did not tell deputies Kauffeld was armed and that the two knew each other, but said he filled them in on those details when they arrived at his home.
James said the only thing his client took from Nobles' home was his own gun. He also said Kauffled thought he was being chased by Nobles' friends, not deputies.
"This is a situation were this love triangle set into motion this chain of events," James said. "There's no reason [Kauffeld] would have known they were law enforcement. They are in a complete blackout situation. No one is announcing [themselves] until after the shooting was over and as soon as [the deputies] did [Kauffeld] gave up."
James said he hopes the jury will see the case the way he does.
"This is a tragic set of circumstances, but when they look at it, if they are honest about it, they are going to see that he had no idea who they were and he was just simply defending himself and there was no burglary that he was an immediate flight from," he said.
Nobles also told the jury he is a convicted felon. Right now, it is unclear how he got a gun.
"His story's [has to] be told and he gave a statement to police where he was very upset, crying," James said of Kauffeld. "Whether the prosecutor plays it or not, we'll have to wait and see, but I think they [the jurors] need to hear from him."
James said Kauffeld coached baseball, served his country in the Navy, went to college and had never been in trouble.
The prosecutor declined to comment on the trial.
If he is convicted, Kauffeld could be sentenced to life in prison. The state is not seeking the death penalty in the case. The trial is expected to end Friday.