Archive for Saturday, March 30, 2002


March 30, 2002


The wife of a Baldwin shooting suspect said she was terrified when a neighbor barged through her front door the night of Oct. 14, 2001, and threatened to kill her.

"She was so out of control I thought she was going to do it right then and there," Erin Meeker said Friday, as she told a Douglas County jury about her confrontation with Kerry Chalmers.

Erin Meeker said her husband, Stephen Meeker, came into the front room during that confrontation armed with a pistol and ordered Chalmers to leave.

"You're not going to hurt my family anymore," Erin Meeker recalled her husband saying.

Stephen Meeker, naked because he had just gotten out of the shower, went to the doorway of their home in the 1200 block of Bison Court as Chalmers retreated outside, his wife said. Then Stephen Meeker fired his pistol at two men who were charging through the yard, cussing and yelling at him, Erin Meeker said.

She said her husband ordered the men to stop more than once before he began shooting. She said they ignored the warnings.

Stephen Meeker is being tried before Douglas County Judge Jack Murphy on charges of aggravated battery, aggravated assault and attempted aggravated battery.

Stephen Meeker, 34, is accused of shooting Chalmers' boyfriend, Steve Swafford, 31, Lawrence, three times with a Ruger 9 mm pistol. He also allegedly shot at Swafford's friend, Chris O'Neil, but missed.

During questioning by her husband's attorney, Jim Rumsey, Erin Meeker said the confrontation with Chalmers occurred after she had tried to get Chalmers' children to quit playing in the Meekers' yard. Erin Meeker, however, denied allegations that she called Chalmers' 14-year-old daughter a derogatory name.

Stephen Meeker retreated into the house and shut the door after the shooting, his wife said. Baldwin Police were called and Meeker surrendered peacefully.

Later, while sitting handcuffed in the front yard with a police officer standing nearby, Erin Meeker said her husband was threatened with harm by O'Neil.

About two months later, the Meekers moved out of the neighborhood to Johnson County. Erin Meeker said she returned to the Bison Court area in February to get two dogs she had left with a friend.

Erin Meeker said she was followed by O'Neil as she drove back to Johnson County. She said she pulled into an auto parts store in Gardner and called her husband, who in turn called Gardner Police. Police followed O'Neil to make sure he left town, Erin Meeker said.

A week later, Erin Meeker said, O'Neil followed her again and then turned around at the Johnson County line.

At one point during her testimony Erin Meeker broke down and cried, saying that the Chalmers and their friends often joked and made fun of her when they saw her outside.

The trial will continue Monday.

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