Garvin, seated next to her attorneys, William Eaches and Knight, dressed completely in black, turned and smiled occasionally at members of the public gallery during the first day of her triple- murder trial in Scioto County Common Pleas Court.
Garvin, 30, of 3407 Back Road, Franklin Furnace is on trial for the December 2008 murders of Edward D. Mollett, 46, and Juanita F. Mollett, 43, of 287-C Snook Road, and 20-year-old Christina J. Mollett, 1602-A Junior Furnace Road.
The shooting took place in the Snook Road residence, and was witnessed by a 6-year-old grandchild of Edward and Juanita Mollett, who ran to a neighbor’s house and called 911.
Both sides gave opening statements, with Assistant Scioto County Prosecutor Julie Hutchinson addressing the jury first, followed by Knight presenting a synopsis of the defense’s case.
Hutchinson played a 911 recording with the voice of a neighbor who described what he had been told by the child, and who said the boy had, “come down the hill with blood and guts all over him.”
Reference was made to Balmer, 48, of the same address as Garvin, who is serving 17 years in connection with the same crime.
A bizarre story was referenced by both attorneys. The same night of the shootings, Garvin and Balmer apparently stopped at a Family Dollar store and bought two boxes of black hair coloring and went to room 120 of Budget Inn in Greenup, Ky., where Garvin used the hair color and took a shower. They were also caught on video picking up a sandwich at a Subway Restaurant.
Knight called attention to the neighbor seeing a tan Jeep leave the crime scene, and a “woman with black hair” in that vehicle. Knight questioned why Garvin would have colored her hair black since her hair is already black.
During his presentation, Knight said Garvin voluntarily showed up at the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office with her cousin, Attorney Rick Nash, and a call was made to Balmer on Garvin’s cell phone. Balmer said he would show up too, but Knight said he did not, and instead headed for Florida, hiding the gun used in the shooting, and clothing on the way.
Knight said Balmer was arrested in Florida on a drug trafficking warrant from Portsmouth.
After their presentations, the prosecution presented several witnesses including a neighbor of the Mollettes who said he had seen Garvin three or four times a week at that residence. Next was a cousin, Danny Mollett, who drove to the scene before EMTs or sheriff’s deputies arrived. A 911 dispatcher, April Pierson, testified it was her voice on the recording; and former Scioto County Sheriff’s Deputy, now Portsmouth Police Officer Kevin Metzler, the first officer at the location of the crime, testified that he checked the pulses of each of the victims.
Jury selection took nearly a week, with seven women and six men selected last Thursday.
The trial is being conducted under a gag order issued by Judge Howard H. Harcha III, which does not allow anyone involved in the trial to talk about the case until it is over.
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232 or firstname.lastname@example.org