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Archive for Saturday, December 15, 2001

Details emerge in Baldwin shooting

December 15, 2001

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An Oct. 14 dispute among children escalated into a shooting involving adults and left one man wounded in a Baldwin neighborhood, court testimony revealed Friday.

Stephen Meeker, 34, went naked to the front door of his house and shot Steven Swafford, 31, Lawrence, witnesses testified during a preliminary hearing in Douglas County District Court.

District Judge Jack Murphy must decide if there is enough evidence to try Meeker on one charge each of aggravated battery, aggravated assault and attempted aggravated battery.

Murphy's decision was delayed as the hearing was continued until 2 p.m. Tuesday. Meeker's attorney, Jim Rumsey, still has more defense witnesses to call.

Under questioning by Assistant Douglas County Dist. Atty. Dan Dunbar, Kerry Chalmers said she confronted Meeker's wife, Erin, after Chalmers' children and the Meekers' children got into a dispute. Chalmers and the Meekers are neighbors in the 1200 block of Bison Court.

Chalmers also accused Erin Meeker of calling her 14-year-old daughter derogatory names. The confrontation between the two took place at the Meekers' front door, Chalmers said.

"I was upset," Chalmers said, adding that she would beat up Meeker if she ever approached Chalmers' daughter again.

Chalmers said she then started to walk away when Stephen Meeker, who was naked, came to the doorway and pointed a pistol at her head. Chalmers said she got off the porch and dived to the ground.

A short distance away Chalmers' boyfriend, Steven Swafford, was running to help her, Swafford testified.

Swafford testified that he had been visiting his girlfriend and had followed her over to the Meekers' house. He said he yelled at Stephen Meeker when Meeker came out with a gun.

"He turned and looked at me, pointed the gun at me and started pulling the trigger," Swafford said.

Three of the bullets hit Swafford in the right hand, left elbow and left hip. He was later taken by helicopter to Kansas University Medical Center. During his testimony, Swafford said his elbow and hip were mostly recovered, but that he had little use of his right hand.

A fourth bullet also was fired, according to Chris O'Neil, a friend of Chalmers' and Swafford's. O'Neil said he also went toward the Meeker residence when the confrontation started. He said he thought Meeker also shot at him and missed.

During Meeker's first appearance in court after charges were filed, Rumsey said Meeker had been taking a shower at the time of the confrontation. Rumsey claimed Chalmers entered the Meekers' house and threatened Erin Meeker.

Two other residents of the neighborhood told Baldwin Police or Douglas County sheriff's officers that they saw Swafford with a pistol. No gun, however, was found with Swafford when police arrived.

Meeker is currently free from jail on $15,000 bond.

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