The case of a Lake Havasu City man accused in the shooting of a TV personality’s son could be reexamined after a motion filed last week by defense attorneys.
According to Deputy Mohave County Public Defender Paul Amann, prosecutors failed to disclose defense details of suspect Garrett G. Wilder when a grand jury reviewed the case last month.
In Mohave County, a grand jury’s role in a criminal trial is to determine whether there is evidence sufficient to show that probable cause exists to believe a crime has been committed. According to Amann, prosecutors in the case failed to disclose Wilder’s statements to police at the time of his arrest, which alleged that Wilder shot the victim – Garrett Dotson, the son of A&E Network’s “Storage Wars” host Don Dotson – in self-defense.
According to police, the victim was staying at a rental home Sept. 13, at the 2100 block of Injo Drive. He and a friend were standing in front of the location, police say, when Wilder passed them while driving in a vehicle. Witnesses in the case allegedly told police that Wilder shouted for Dotson to “go back where he came from.”
The police report says that Dotson confronted Wilder at the scene, who was armed with a .380 caliber pistol. Wilder allegedly fired the weapon from the vehicle, striking Dotson, and fled the scene. When police and medical officials arrived, Dotson was transported to Havasu Regional Medical Center, and then by air to a Las Vegas hospital for emergency treatment of his injuries.
Police requested the public’s assistance in finding the assailant, and Wilder’s girlfriend allegedly identified him as the shooter to investigators. Officers served a search warrant at Wilder’s Winterhaven Drive residence, where detectives allegedly found the weapon. Detectives also allegedly found a single spent shell casing inside the vehicle used at the time of the incident.
When questioned by detectives, however, Wilder allegedly said he believed Dotson and his companion intended him harm. He allegedly told police that he heard one of them say, “let’s get him” before they approached his vehicle. According to the defense, Wilder said Dotson attempted to pull on the door handle of the vehicle. Wilder said he felt his life was being threatened before allegedly shooting Dotson at the scene.
Wilder’s defense was not presented to a grand jury in the case, according to Wilder’s attorney, which limited the grand jury’s ability to determine whether probable cause existed to believe Wilder was guilty of a crime.
“Because the state failed to instruct the grand jury regarding Wilder’s justification, this matter should be remanded to the grand jury with an order that the state properly advise the grand jury on Wilder’s justification defense,” Amann wrote in his motion last week.
If the motion is successful, Mohave Superior Court Judge Billy Sipe could order the case remanded back to a grand jury for reconsideration after a hearing next Tuesday.