A jury returned a verdict of “not guilty” Friday evening in the trial of Timothy Charles Chism, who was charged with attempted second-degree murder.
The jury also had the option of finding Chism guilty of lesser offenses of aggravated battery but came back with the “not guilty” verdict after deliberating about 2.5 hours in Barton County District Court.
The charges stemmed from Jan. 10, when 19-year-old Kimberly Trimmer’s throat was slashed at a Great Bend home where guests had reportedly “dabbed” marijuana and/or smoked meth. After the attack, Trimmer told law enforcement officers, hospital personnel and her mother that Chism was the assailant, although she couldn’t understand why he would do it, according to testimony introduced by witnesses called by Barton County Attorney Levi Morris.
But Defense attorney Donald E. Anderson II focused on how witnesses’ stories had changed. Trimmer, who had been called as a witness for the state, was also called as a witness for the defense.
In his closing argument, Morris reminded the jury of evidence that Trimmer loved Chism.
“When is Kim Trimmer telling the truth — (in January) or now?” Morris asked. “She’s clearly got a motivation to lie; she’s in love with this guy.”
In his closing argument, Anderson reminded the jury of what he had said when the trial began on Wednesday. “This is a case of a false accusation against my client.”
He continued, “I’m pretty sure that’s what you all heard — inconsistencies. ... There just wasn’t enough to believe that anybody’s story was factually accurate.”
Trimmer named Chism as her attacker for about six weeks but later said the person who cut her throat was Brandon Witthuhn, the man whose house everyone was in that night, or that she didn’t know who did it. Witthuhn and another person in the house, Randy Baker, both called 911 that night and they both testified that Chism cut the victim’s throat. No one saw the knife, and testimony varied on whether Chism leaned across another person on the couch, jumped up or stood up.
Anderson said Trimmer had been afraid of Witthuhn, which is why she lied at first. “Her testimony: Brandon threatened her,” Anderson told the jury. “She was terrified of Brandon.”