Murder Trial Testimony: Gun Fired At Close Range, Defendant's Story Changed

GULFPORT (WLOX) -- Prosecutors pieced together the last moments of Tiffany Talley's life as testimony continued Wednesday in the murder trial of 19-year-old Jonathon Barfield.

The Gulfport man is charged with murder in the shooting death of Talley, his estranged girlfriend in December 2006. 17-year-old Talley was an honors student at Gulfport High and a star athlete.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Paul McGary was the first witness called by the prosecution Wednesday morning. McGary performed the autopsy on Talley which he said showed Talley died from a .22 caliber gunshot wound to the cheek.

Prosecutors showed the jury a poster-sized autopsy photo of the girl to illustrate her injuries. The photo stunned Talley's relatives in court and brought some to tears.

Dr. McGary described the damage done by the .22 caliber bullet, "She had a gun shot wound that entered the center of her right cheek at the level of the tip of her nose."

McGary said Talley would have died within minutes, and she would have struggled to breathe as lungs filled with blood.

McGary says evidence, including gunshot residue, show the gun was just 12 to 18 inches from Talley's face when it was fired. That testimony contradicts both of the explanations prosecutors say Barfield gave to investigators.

Former Harrison County Sheriff's Deputy, Ed Tomey, testified Barfield told slightly different stories when questioned at the scene and then later at the Sheriff's Department. Tomey told the jury Barfield said he was taking a shower, when he heard loud knocking at the door of his FEMA trailer.

Tomey's testimony about Barfield's statement backed the defense argument that Barfield answered the door with a gun because of the danger living in a FEMA trailer park.

Tomey told the jury, "He heard someone trying to get in the door. He described the noise as someone banging on the door a lot. He was afraid of being robbed."

But the detective says Barfield told two different stories about what happened next.

Tomey says the defendant first told him when he saw Talley at the door he lowered the gun to his side, but when Talley entered the trailer she bumped Barfield and the gun went off.

Later the detective said Barfield told him he dropped the gun after Talley bumped him and the gun went off.

Tomey also testified about phone calls between the defendant and the victim.  The prosecution says cell phone records showed Talley was talking to Barfield on the phone while outside his trailer door.

Former deputy Tomey testified Barfield admitted the two were talking on the phone, but he had no idea Talley was at the door.

During cross examination, detective Tomey said cell phone records indicate Talley called Barfield six times between 11:07 a.m. and 12:23 p.m. on the day of the shooting.

Tomey said Barfield called his father at 12:26 p.m. and told him about the shooting.

Barfiled told Tomey his father told him to call 911. Phone records show Barfield made the 911 call at 12:28 p.m.

Danielle Thomas will have updates from court later on WLOX News.