David Wilson found not guilty of murder in shooting of MPD officer Nathan Heidelberg
After an hour and a half of deliberation, the jury found David Wilson not guilty of murder.
After nearly three years, the trial for David Wilson, the man accused of shooting and killing Midland Police Officer Nathan Heidelberg, is underway in Midland County.
Wilson’s trial was initially set to begin the second week of November after a massive jury selection process. However, after jury members were picked on November 4, all jury trials in the county were shut down after multiple people involved in the Wilson trial tested positive for COVID-19.
Now the trial is underway, with opening statements being made on November 30.
March 5, 2019: Trial background
Wilson is facing murder charges for the death of MPD officer Nathan Hayden Heidelberg.
The Midland man is accused of shooting and killing Heidelberg after the officer responded to his home around 1 a.m. on March 5, 2019. MPD was called out to the home after an alarm was reportedly tripped on the property.
Heidelberg died as a result of the gunshot wounds, and Wilson admitted to firing at the officer.
Wilson was originally arrested and charged with manslaughter, but was reindicted on murder charges by a grand jury on October 28, 2021.
There are also multiple lawsuits underway for the security systems involved in the shooting.
November 30, 2021: Day 1
Tuesday kicked off with opening statements from the prosecution on why Wilson should be charged with murder following Heidelberg’s death.
In contrast, the defense painted Wilson as a self-made family man who was only trying to protect his family when he fired that shot.
Body camera footage of the officer who assisted Heidelberg on that day was shown to the jury during the trial.
The video showed Heidelberg and Victoria Allee, 26, responding to the call, what lead up to the shooting and the moment the officer was shot.
Allee was also questioned by the prosecution and the defense. The witness testified that the two of them had initially checked the back door and found it locked before she suggested they check the front door.
According to Allee, she touched the handle of the front door and it opened, causing a voice alert about the door being opened to go off.
Heidelberg closed the door and the two called for backup, while Allee said she noticed someone inside the house.
Officer Heidelberg then announced himself, saying “Midland Police, come to the sound of my voice”. Moments later a shot is fired, hitting him in the chest.
Day one of the trial saw many tears after the video was shown, as well as arguments from both sides over whether Wilson was justified in taking the shot.
December 1, 2021: Day 2
The trial resumed Wednesday with footage of an interview with David Wilson following the shooting.
In the footage, two Texas Rangers interview Wilson for his perspective on what happened, asking him what possible outcomes he expected from firing his weapon.
Wilson told officers he was “just shooting to protect my family” and that he hadn’t intended for any life to be lost.
He also told the Rangers that while he had called 911 after the alarm went off, he had not heard Heidelberg say he was with the police.
Texas Ranger Cody Allen took the witness stand, where District Attorney Laura Nodolf asked him to identify multiple pieces of evidence via photos. Among these items were the gun Wilson had used, which was identified as a Glock 19, Officer Heidelberg’s uniform with bullet markings and a flashlight the officer had dropped after being shot.
The prosecution showed video gathered by the Texas Rangers, three perspectives of the shooting and the events leading up to it pieced together from Allee’s body camera footage and two of Wilson’s security cameras.
Following this, the judge ordered a recess for a lunch break.
Following the break, Brad Heidelberg, the cousin of Officer Heidelberg, took the stand. Brad identified his cousin's body.
Deputy Medical Examiner Tasha Greenberg, who performed the autopsy, also took the stand. Greenberg gave information about the bullet, which passed through Heidelberg's right wrist and the right side of his chest.
We also learned that Wilson's wife called 911 immediately after the shooting.
December 2, 2021: Day 3
Day 3 began with Ranger Allen back on the witness stand as the defense and prosecution analyzed the security system and cameras on Wilson’s property.
According to Allen’s testimony, there was a 33-second gap between when officers rang the front doorbell and when shots were fired. The defense questioned whether this was enough time for Wilson to have reasonably pulled up cameras to check for intruders.
Training for Texas Rangers and other law enforcement was a big focus of the cross-examination, with the defense asking Allen if officers are trained to not wait if there is a threat.
Both parties also grilled Allen about why an officer might stand in the doorway of a house or use a flashlight to give away their location instead of seeking cover.
For the first half of day three, the Castle Doctrine was a hot topic. The defense brought up that for officers in training, the phrase “Enter and Die” is linked to the doctrine.
Texas laws concerning duty to retreat were also discussed in detail, focusing on the question of why Wilson didn’t simply grab his family and hide.
Attorneys brought a picture of the house plans to the stand, showing how the location of Wilson and the master bedroom was across the house from the smaller bedrooms where Wilson’s children were sleeping. To get to that side of the house, Wilson would have had to cross in front of the doorway, and the defense argued if Heidelberg had been a legitimate threat it could have been too risky for Wilson.
Another topic of contention concerned the length of time between the incident and when Officer Allee was interviewed. According to Allen, Allee was not interviewed until seven days after the initial incident.
The defense proposed that this was a double standard compared to Wilson who was interviewed for two hours the same day. Allen told the courtroom that it was standard procedure to wait 24-48 hours to interview officers following instances like this.
According to Allen, this is to allow for physical and mental recovery, but also because authorities consider it easier to get statements from other officers compared to witnesses and suspects, and do not have to risk other factors interfering.
After Allen was dismissed, Officer Bailey Mims with the Midland Police Department was called to the stand.
Mims was one of the first officers at the scene, just a few moments behind Heidelberg and Allee, and witnessed the shooting from the driveway.
At the time, Mims was an officer in training, similar to Allee. Mims and her supervising officer Alexander Duwel were sent to Wilson’s home because she said it is considered proper procedure to send two officers to alarm and burglary calls, but Mims and Allee were not considered full officers at the time.
Mims’ body camera footage was shown, revealing another angle of the moment of the shooting as well as Mims handcuffing Wilson after he came out of the residence.
In the video officers call out to Wilson, asking him who else is inside the house and instructing him how to approach the police.
Wilson cooperates with the officers as they place restraints on him and place him inside the vehicle, though he can be heard saying "something's up" and claiming the officers never announced themselves as such.
Whether or not Wilson heard Heidelberg announce himself was brought up time and time again throughout witness testimonies. The defense pointed out that Heidelberg's announcement could not be heard on Mims' body camera footage, though Mims reasoned this was likely due to how noisy the equipment on her person was as she ran up to the house.
In contrast, MPD Officer Alexander Duwel testified that as he and Mims ran up to the house, he could hear Heidelberg announce their presence from one or two houses down the street.
Duwel also testified before the jury on the proper procedures for alarm calls within the department. He stated that alarm calls are incredibly common when on patrol and that at the time officers were instructed to go to the property and perform a walkaround, checking doors and windows.
If anything indicated the possibility of some sort of entry, officers were told to do a secondary sweep to search for evidence of a crime before working to clear the building.
Later questioning of Mims from the defense revealed that at least temporarily the department altered its policy on alarm calls to say it would not respond unless the "verified key carrier" could be contacted and was either on location or en route.
During his testimony, Duwel went into detail about the immediate aftermath of the shooting and the measures he and other officers took to try and save Heidelberg's life.
As Duwel and Mims approached the house, he stated Heidelberg indicated he believed the bullet had been caught by his bulletproof vest. However shortly after the officer collapsed.
Duwel stated he begin working to strip away Heidelberg's uniform and vest with the help of fellow officer Joel Covarrubio, who arrived a few minutes after Duwel and Mims. Covarrubio had heard over the radio shots were fired and had grabbed his medical bag before sprinting to where Heidelberg lay.
The two officers worked to try and stop the blood they testified was coming from the wound near Heidelberg's right shoulder. While Heidelberg was semi-conscious, both officers stated he was nearly non-verbal as they worked on him.
As more officers arrived, Covarrubio said they made the decision that it would be too risky to wait for an ambulance to arrive so four officers loaded Heidelberg into a police vehicle. Covarrubio drove Heidelberg and another more medically experienced officer to the hospital, where emergency room staff took over.
The prosecution also played several minutes of backseat camera footage of Covarrubio's police vehicle, which was left at the scene while the officer took another vehicle to transport Heidelberg.
During this video, David Wilson can be seen waiting for over 30 minutes while handcuffed. Wilson prays out loud and repeats phrases like "This is unbelievable" over the duration of the footage.
Outside of the three officers, the prosecution also called an expert witness. Mike Bryant, special investigator for the 112th Judicial District, testified as an expert and qualified trainer for investigative interviewing.
Bryant told the courtroom that he had trained Ranger Allen on interviewing subjects and that Allen had done an excellent job following the training, attempting to get answers out of Wilson while keeping him comfortable and avoiding coercion.
The prosecution emphasized that Allen did not "sweat" or "ice" the subject, something the defense had theorized the Texas Rangers had attempted to do during his earlier testimony.
Day three ended in the middle of Covarrubio's testimony and is intended to resume at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
December 3, 2021: Day 4
Friday began with brief testimony from Officer Covarrubio again, as he was questioned about his training on self-defense before being dismissed.
Whether or not anyone had attempted to contact Wilson on the morning of the shooting was a major point of contention as the prosecution called its next witness: Angela Wolf, the City of Midland 911 dispatch communications manager.
Wolf testified on the standard procedures for dispatching officers to alarm calls back in 2019, contrasting it with the newer guidelines, put in place following this incident.
According to Wolf, officers were traditionally provided the type of alarm they were going to, where the alarm was coming from and the name of the homeowner.
The prosecution played the initial 911 call from the alarm company to MPD dispatch, where the caller told the dispatcher they had not contacted Wilson because they had been instructed to call in the alarm first.
Based off of Wolf’s testimony it was shown officers were sent to the Wilson residence under the impression someone was working to initiate content with David Wilson as the “key carrier”. This was based on numerous other alarm calls MPD has handled where the alarm company worked to contact the homeowner.
However, the defense argued that nowhere in the specific call did the alarm company representatives say explicitly that they were going to contact Wilson, claiming the officers were sent to the house with faulty information.
The prosecution also presented three 911 calls between dispatch and Amy Wilson, David Wilson's wife.
In the first call, Wilson tells MPD that there was an “intruder” yelling at them to open the door and said they had kicked open their front door. She also told dispatch her husband had fired a shot and he thought he had hit one of them.
At the end of the call, dispatch assured Amy Wilson they had officers on the way. However, the second call featured Wilson calling back out of concern that they hadn’t seen any officers arrive yet.
A third and final call was made by dispatch to alert Wilson that the police were outside her home.
Next to take the stand was MPD Officer Julio Ramero. During his testimony, body camera footage was shown of him assisting in Heidelberg’s extraction from the scene after he had been shot.
Ramero also testified that he and other officers were not made aware for some time that the Wilsons had called 911.
Sergeant Anthony Corson, the supervising officer for the night of March 5, 2019, was called to the stand next.
Corson discussed the semantics of what needed to be cleared by a supervisor in situations like this, getting emotional when asked why he did not need to be consulted for the decision to wait for an ambulance even though he cleared the initial request for one.
The prosecution also showed video camera footage from Corson, including when he asked Amy Wilson to come outside with her daughters.
Next to the stand was Howard Ryan, the owner of Highlands Forensics, an investigating consulting business out of New Jersey.
Ryan was presented as an expert witness on crime scene reconstruction, specializing in shooting incidents and blood splatter. He consulted with the District Attorney’s office on this case.
According to Ryan, this case was unusual in the high amount of video he was given to work with to reconstruct the case.
During the prosecution’s questioning, Ryan stated that from the video he saw, David Wilson’s behavior prior to MPD ringing the doorbell was “unremarkable” and the same as he himself believed he would do.
However, Ryan began to question the behavior and decision-making following the doorbell being rung.
The topic of Ryan's expertise and its relevance to body language and physical demeanor was a topic of contention as the judge excused the jury while the defense and prosecution deliberated for over an hour.
When the jury was brought back into the courtroom, the prosecution again showed the composite video from the Rangers showing the front porch and entryway of the Wilson house, along with Allee's body camera footage.
DA Nodolf spent several minutes inquiring about the body language of Heidelberg, Allee and both Wilsons in the video before engaging in a demonstration.
In the demonstration, Nodolf had the lights lowered and brought out a fake gun, imitating rounding a corner and facing Ryan with a flashlight shining in his eyes. Various times she asked Ryan when her behavior or physicality would classify her as a threat based on his law enforcement training.
Nodolf asked Ryan to confirm if he felt the flashlight Heidelberg was shining was directed to where Wilson had been standing at the time he fired the shot, to which Ryan agreed it was pointing in the opposite direction of Wilson, into the left side of the house from the officers' points of view.
As she wrapped up her line of questioning, the district attorney asked Ryan what he believed Wilson was seen doing in the video after he fired a shot at Heidelberg. Ryan stated he believed Wilson was trying to clear the double feed that had jammed the gun, possibly with the intent to fire again.
In turn, the defense showed Ryan a picture of the Wilson's front door and asked Ryan if the glass appeared clear or opaque, to which Ryan agreed it was opaque and therefore likely hard to see through.
The state then rested its case pending one more witness, a physician from Midland Memorial Hospital who was unable to testify Friday due to being in surgery. Judge Tryon agreed to let the state rest until the witness was ready, at which time they would break and allow for the witness to testify.
Following this, the defense made a motion for a directed verdict in the case, stating they believed the state had not provided sufficient evidence to disprove Wilson was acting in self-defense. The judge overruled the request for the time being.
The trial is expected to resume Monday, with the defense calling its first witness prior to the MMH physician being ready to testify.
Nov. 30-Dec. 3: Week 1 summary
The first week of the trial saw testimony from roughly half a dozen Midland Police Officers as the prosecution called numerous witnesses to try and prove Wilson was responsible for Heidelberg's death after he entered a plea of not guilty.
Numerous pieces of video and audio evidence were played, including body camera footage, security camera footage and 911 calls.
Key points argued by the state were how loudly Heidelberg announced himself prior to being shot and the policies MPD had in place for checking out alarm calls.
In cross examination, the defense quizzed the officers on their self-defense training and the Caste Doctrine, and emphasized that no attempts had been made to contact the Wilson family after the alarm had been triggered.
The prosecution rested on Friday pending one final witness. At this time the defense is expected to call its first witness Monday pending the prosecution's last speaker becoming available.
December 6, 2021: Day 5
The trial resumed Monday with the defense calling its first witness.
Albert Rodriguez was brought in as an expert on the methodology of determining the need for use of force or deadly force. He also told the jury he has spent years in law enforcement and instructing officers on the science of responding to situations where force is required.
The defense also emphasized his experience testifying in other cases, to which the prosecution objected on the grounds that most of the witness’s experience was concerning officer-involved shootings as opposed to homicide cases. The judge overruled and Rodriguez was kept on the stand, though the objection set a tone for the rest of the morning session.
Rodriguez discussed the case files and video footage he reviewed and recounted his personal interview with Wilson, as well as how he personally went to Wilson’s house to investigate the front door.
The witness also outlined the typical response pattern for individuals in danger and discussed how, in his experience, officers who had to fire their weapon often can’t recall how many times they fired their weapon or how loud the shots were, due to how their nervous system reacts to a high-intensity situation.
As the defense passed the witness along to the prosecution for cross-examination, Nodolf and Rodriguez went in circles about what elements from the night of the shooting should be factored in when determining the threat level Wilson might have experienced.
Nodolf pulled up the composite footage from Allee’s body camera and Wilsons’ security system, arguing that from where the flashlight was shown to be shining in the footage, it was not enough of a threat, to which Rodriguez counteracted by saying he couldn’t take that element alone to make a determination on the danger level Wilson felt.
After Rodriguez was dismissed, the defense called Jared Zwickey to the stand. Another expert witness, Zwickey told the jury about his history as a law enforcement officer and an instructor for other peace officers.
Zwickey was entered as an expert witness concerning the use of force and he agreed with what Rodriguez had stated before him, emphasizing how what Wilson and the MPD officers saw was likely different than what the infrared security cameras are able to show in hindsight.
Following this testimony, the state's final witness was available and the courtroom was able to hear from Dr. Russell Van Husen, the vascular and trauma surgeon who provided medical care for Heidelberg after he had been shot.
The doctor testified that by the time Heidelberg got to him, the officer already had lost a lot of blood and had no vitals. Staff were working to perform CPR on him.
Dr. Van Husen said Heidelberg had sustained a transected subclavian artery, which is not an injury that is considered survivable. He pronounced the officer dead at 2:24 a.m. that day.
After the doctor's testimony, the courtroom switched back to the defense, who called Chris Russell, another expert witness. Russell was called on for his knowledge of alarm and security companies, having his own company and testifying previously on other cases involving alarms and security laws.
The defense zeroed in on the process by which a homeowner would have to go through in order to change settings on their alarm system. Russell emphasized this was not something one of the Wilsons could have simply gone in and done, but this would have had to have been done by the security company.
After this line of questioning, the defense moved on to a sequence of events it referred to as a "perfect storm of unfortunate consequences," going into detail about an error code in the alarm system.
Russell and the defense detailed how the Wilsons' alarm system was set up to run a communications test once every 24 hours between the hours of midnight and 1 a.m. If a test failed, it was to be entered into a log for Lydia Security Monitoring to go over the next day and make adjustments as needed to ensure the system was working properly.
However, according to documents submitted as evidence, on February 21, 2019, a specific alarm code was changed in the system by Bam's Security. This changed the code from simply generating a log when a test failed to triggering an alarm that would alert the monitoring company, who in turn would notify police.
In addition, Russell testified that under Texas law, all operators working at a monitoring company like Lydia are required to be licensed. Lydia itself as a company was licensed but its individual operators were not, including the two who called MPD that morning.
Russell stated he believed that if the operators had been properly trained and licensed, they would have been able to see a second faulty error code that popped up and realize the police did not need to be notified.
The defense also submitted evidence that two prior alarms had been triggered at the Wilson house, and both times the monitoring company had made an attempt to contact a key carrier.
Next to the stand was Dr. Manuel Meza-Arroyo, an industrial engineer with specialization in what information humans gather to try and prevent collisions.
Dr. Meza testified that he and his team had used laser technology to scan Wilson's house, examined the video submitted and utilized a motion capture system all to recreate the motions of Wilson the night of the shooting and try to emulate what he might have seen that night.
While the defense did not submit the animation for the jury to consider, they did bring three photos recreating specific sections of the house and the lighting conditions they were in at the time.
The first photo showed what Wilson might have seen after walking out of the master bedroom, a dim view of the dining room illuminated by a night light.
A second photo showed the view the MPD officers might have had coming up the front porch of the Wilsons' house.
The third and final photo was a mock-up of what Wilson might have seen when he rounded the corner to shoot at Heidelberg. Dr. Meza reasoned that Wilson might have stated he saw two lights due to a reflective floating table at the entrance.
This third photo replicated that theory, with a flashlight shining through the open front door and a second, nearly as blinding, light reflecting into the camera as well.
Day five ended with Nodolf questioning Meza on these recreations, saying that it was impossible to say with 100% certainty that these photos were exactly what Wilson saw. Meza responded that the mission was simply to recreate what Wilson had available to him to see that night and that what he actually witnessed was more of a philosophical question that he was unable to answer.
December 7, 2021: Day 6
Day six kicked off with a resumption of the discussion concerning the animation created to simulate what Wilson and the MPD officers might have seen the morning of March 5.
Dr. Daniel Kruger took the stand as the defense presented multiple animations, some showing overhead views of where the various actors were in and around the house, and others following behind individuals like Heidelberg and Allee.
The prosecution began cross-examining the mechanical engineer on the videos, focusing especially on which elements of the house were included. Kruger informed the courtroom that he had not been to the house himself and that all of the information he had used to create the animations came from Dr. Meza.
Dr. Kruger also emphasized that he was not a lighting expert, meaning he was unable to answer questions about various light sources in the house. This led to Dr. Meza being called to the stand again.
The prosecution focused particularly on a number of palm trees in the Wilsons’ yard that had lights on them, arguing they might have provided extra illumination that the animation team did not take into account during their recreation. Meza countered this by comparing it to a light pole several miles away — you might be able to see it, but it would be unable to illuminate anything that wasn’t directly next to it.
After Meza’s dismissal, the court jumped to a temporary rebuttal on the part of the state to allow Chris Russell, the alarm expert witness, to be dismissed.
DA Nodolf presented an activity log from the security system on the day of March 5. She and Russell went over the various entries, pointing out an attempt to access the system after Wilson had fired a shot, according to the time stamp.
Russell also testified that while it might have been possible for a mobile phone to access the security system and check the cameras within a 30-second window, he didn’t believe that’s what he would have done had he been in Wilson’s shoes.
After Russell was dismissed, the court moved back to the defense’s case, where Amy Wilson, David Wilson’s wife, was brought to the stand.
David Wilson grew teary-eyed as lawyers asked Amy about their relationship, growing up in Snyder, their work in the oilfield, and the births of their three girls.
Amy recounted to the jury about the alarm system that came with the house when they moved in early 2018, and how they regularly had issues connecting with it and other internet-reliant devices due to the metal roof.
She also told the courtroom that she would not consider her husband a “gun nut”; while he owned a handgun and a rifle and did not have a concealed handgun license, he had only ever fired the weapons on her family’s land but had plenty of experience handling firearms through that.
Amy recounted the events of the day leading up to the shooting, before going into detail of those few minutes after she heard that a door was open.
After the two realized someone was outside their home, David and Amy ran to the master bedroom closet to retrieve a gun that was on a high shelf. It was placed there to prevent their daughters from having easy access, but required David to lift his wife up to be able to reach it.
The defense also presented evidence of the numerous clothes inside the closet as well as the high levels of insulation in the house walls as evidence to why neither David or Amy might have heard Heidelberg announce his presence.
According to Mrs. Wilson, neither of them attempted to access the security cameras until after David had fired the gun because they were worried someone was already inside the home. She did access it after a 911 call because she was told officers were outside and she wanted to verify this, though she testified she did not see any police when she looked at the front porch camera.
The defense passed Amy Wilson to the prosecution for cross-examination, who pointed out that she stated she never heard any voices in or outside of her home despite the fact she said she had on the 911 call.
Nodolf also asked Wilson to point out where the speaker that announced a door was open was located inside the house, which Wilson marked in the roof of the hallway outside of the girls' bedrooms.
DA Nodolf then remarked that the distance from the speaker to the master bedroom was greater than the distance of the front door to the bedroom, yet Amy Wilson testified she had been able to hear the second alert of the door opening from the master bedroom closet, but not Heidelberg's announcement.
After Wilson was released, the defense brought up Mitch Clark, the previous owner of the Wilsons' house, for a brief testimony. Clark told the courtroom that after he had purchased the house he had worked to add a significant amount of insulation to the walls, not only to keep the house warmer and reduce energy bills, but also to make the house as quiet as possible.
The final witness of the day was David Wilson himself, who spent hours being examined and cross-examined by the councils.
While the defense began by asking Mr. Wilson to recount his employment history, the lawyer quickly shifted to his community involvement via the church and various boards he had served on in Midland.
A large portion of time was spent asking Wilson to recount the events of the night of March 5, 2019, with a particular focus on the fear and panic he felt and the threats he perceived leading up to the shooting.
David Wilson testified to the court that he had grabbed the gun out of his closet for fear of his family's safety and that he was worried any potential intruders would get to his daughters. He was particularly concerned about a burglary, kidnapping or murder.
Wilson admitted that when he fired at the flashlight outside of his front door, he had no clue that it was Officer Heidelberg, but he believed it to be an intruder at the time.
He expressed remorse for the actions that took Heidelberg's life and said that in hindsight, knowing what he knows now, he would go to any lengths to stop what happened.
The defense also asked Wilson if he had requested to testify to the grand jury responsible for his indictment, if he had offered to let them come to house to see the scene, or if he had asked for sound testing to be done in the home. Wilson said yes to all of these but stated that none of these things ever happened.
Wilson was also quizzed on the alarm system and home automation system, with the prosecution inquiring on how much knowledge David and Amy had for controlling everything. David told the court that they were both able to arm the alarm system and check the cameras from their cell phones, but were unable to do more than change music or temperatures via the panels installed in two locations in the house.
The prosecution than began dissecting the morning of March 5 and Wilson's actions, asking him why he believed he had seen flashlights on his porch when video evidence showed that there was never a flashlight on at any point when Wilson was in the living room until right before he fired at Heidelberg.
Wilson stated he understood now that there were no lights but said he believed he perceived lights in the moment, causing a circular debate between him and the lawyer as to whether or not he witnessed any lights. This event caused an objection from one of the defense lawyers followed immediately by an outburst from another, questioning "what is wrong" with the prosecution.
After this the prosecution moved on to the timing of Heidelberg's announcement and how long it took Wilson to move from the bedroom to the front door. Wilson agreed by looking at the security camera/body camera footage that it only took one to two seconds for the officer to make the announcement that MPD was at the house.
Merely a second or two later on the video footage Wilson can be seen striding out of the bedroom with his weapon in hand, making his way toward the front entryway. The prosecution questioned how fast it had taken Wilson to leave the closet that was supposedly hard to hear in, pondering if Wilson had already been in a position where he could hear Heidelberg's announcement more easily.
During Tuesday's trial, Wilson testified quite a bit about the voices, saying that during Heidelberg's announcement he thought he heard someone speaking Spanish. The prosecution also pulled a clip from his interview with Ranger Allen where he stated he heard voices either as the shot was fired or right afterward.
The lawyer posed that perhaps if Wilson had waited just a second or two longer, Heidelberg might have been able announce himself again and clear up any confusion. Wilson replied to this that while that might have been true, he believed there was enough of a threat to himself and his family that he couldn't wait.
Day six ended with Wilson leaving the stand and the defense preparing to call its next witness.
December 8, 2021: Day 7
Following the Wilsons’ testimonies Tuesday, day seven kicked off with an hour of rapid fire testimonies from character witnesses called by the defense.
Each of the seven witnesses called were questioned about the character of David Wilson, specifically his honesty and his law-abiding nature.
The witnesses all brought stories about their time working with Wilson, his time on their nonprofit’s board or his time teaching Sunday School at First Baptist Church with his wife.
Carl Smith, who testified he had met Wilson back during the defendant’s time working at the feed store, called Wilson a “truthful, honest individual.”
After these witnesses were called, the defense rested its case, and both the prosecution and defense closed.
The defense also moved for another directed verdict under the same condition that it believed the state failed to prove its case, which the judge again overruled.
Over a dozen Midland police officers and half a dozen Texas Rangers were in the court room in preparation for the closing arguments.
Among the officers in attendance were officers Mims, Duwel and Corson, who had all testified for the prosecution, and police chief Seth Herman.
After the court reconvened, the jury was read their charges
The prosecution began its closing arguments, emphasizing that the jury did not need to be unanimous on which way a murder was committed, just whether or not a murder had been committed at all. If the jury found a murder had been committed, the prosecution said they were then responsible for determining if self defense was a valid excuse for Wilson's actions.
Arguments were then passed to the defense, who emphasized that per self defense laws, a person has the right to defend against apparent danger as if it were real. The defense also told the jury they felt it was shameful of the prosecution to put the parents of the officer through the death of their son again.
One of the lawyers began crying as he apologized to the Heidelberg family for the loss of Hayden.
The prosecution got one final chance to make its arguments, telling the jury they have a right to examine the credibility of the witnesses they heard by comparing previous statements on the stand.
Before the jury began deliberating, Nodolf finished closing arguments by emphasizing that Heidelberg never once fired back at Wilson, even though she said he could have.
After an hour and a half of deliberation, the jury found Wilson not guilty of murder.
When the verdict was read, Wilson could be seen crying as he embraced his wife.
Following the reading of the verdict, DA Nodolf provided the following statement to NewsWest 9:
"This is a case I’ve always felt should be heard by the citizens of Midland County, that they should be able to look at it and evaluate the evidence, and it not be a singular decision based off of either myself or just law enforcement. It’s why we have the criminal justice system, and while we of course had hoped for a different outcome, we respect what the jury has come back with."
Nodolf went on to say, with changing gun laws, the situation shows just how important gun safety and sometimes just taking a pause to think can be.