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Defendant disputes claim of fondling
Cousin, child also take stand at murder trial

By Sheryl Marsh 340-2437

The state's key witness in a murder trial said her cousin, Mark Anthony Callahan, fondled her and it angered her boyfriend, whom Callahan is accused of killing.

Callahan, however, disputed that claim.

Through tears he told a jury that Cindy Wright and her boyfriend, whom he killed, were abusive toward one of his five children.

Callahan, 38, of Somerville is on trial in Morgan County Circuit Court in connection with the July 1, 2006, shooting death of Ricky Wayne Gilley, 30, of Cullman.

Wright testified that Callahan took her and Gilley to his home that evening and they started drinking. She said they shared one bottle of tequila and were drinking another bottle when an argument started.

Threatened brother?

Wright said Callahan's wife had left him and he was talking about killing her (Wright's) brother for being the father of one of their children. According to Wright, Callahan said he was going to do it during a family reunion on the Fourth of July.

She said she told him that he shouldn't kill her brother although his affair with Callahan's wife was wrong.

Wright said Callahan touched her on her buttocks one time and then her breasts another time. She said Gilley didn't see those incidents. She said Callahan was drunk because they all had consumed a lot of liquor.

A pathologist testified Wednesday that Gilley's alcohol blood level was .313. The legal limit to drive in Alabama is .08

Wright said while Callahan was lying in the living room floor, he rubbed her leg and Gilley saw him.

"Those are grounds for an ass whipping," Wright said Gilley told Callahan.

She said the arguing between the two became so intense that Callahan's children were hysterical. She said all of them, including the children, went outside and that Gilley kept telling Callahan that he did not want to fight him.

Then, she said, Callahan started back inside and Gilley followed, saying he didn't want to fight him. Wright said she had dialed Callahan's sister's phone on a cell phone and before it could ring she heard a gun shot.

Wright said she called 911.

She said Callahan got all of his children and left. She said she stayed with Gilley, who was lying wounded on the porch.

Under cross-examination by Callahan's attorney Larry Madison, Wright admitted that she had used crystal methamphetamine and painkillers in the past. She said Gilley was also an ex-drug user who had helped her kick the habit.

One of Callahan's children was a defense witness.

The boy said he and his siblings went to their bedroom and later heard screaming between the adults in the living room. He said they came out of the bedroom and he saw Gilley with a gun.

The child said Gilley said he was going to hurt his little sister and then started yelling at Callahan. He said Callahan and Gilley fought outside and then they started back inside. Then, he said, he saw Gilley coming back out of the door and he fell on the porch.

The child, who was 8 at the time of the shooting, sobbed before finishing his testimony. Judge Steve Haddock gave a brief recess for him to calm down.

Callahan told the jury that his wife had deserted him and the children, and ran away with her boyfriend. He said he bought the gun from his brother because his ex-wife and her lover were harassing him.

He said Gilley found his gun in a box in a cabinet when he got cereal off the top of the refrigerator. Callahan said he told Gilley to put the gun away because he didn't want his children to see it.

He said he was talking to Wright about how she should stay away from drugs and at some point she called one of his daughters abusive names.

Callahan said he shoved her and that's when Gilley said he was going to fight him. Callahan said Gilley pulled the gun that he had told him to put up, and threatened to kill him. He said he and Gilley wrestled on the floor and he got the gun away from him.

Callahan said Gilley kept coming after him so he shot him.

"That was my home," Callahan said. "I had no where else to go."

The trial will continue Friday.

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