The memories of witnesses to allegedly criminal events can sometimes be unreliable, and witness accounts of a shooting at a strip club in Madison, Wisconsin seem to contradict evidence collected at the scene.
Witnesses claim the alleged shooter fired four shots in rapid succession, but because authorities only found four bullet casings at the scene, the attorney representing the man who stands accused of shooting patrons of the club now claims that someone else in the building must have had a different type of gun, one that does not eject bullet casings, and fired the additional shots. The defense attorney goes on to argue that his client received stab wounds in an altercation with another club patron and fired two shots in self-defense. Finally, the defense attorney alleges that his client has a license to carry the semi-automatic handgun involved in the incident.
There were other confused details in the criminal complaint filed last Thursday. According to witness accounts, four people received injuries as a result of the incident, but the criminal complaint details gunshot wounds to only one. The complaint the assistant district attorney read on Thursday, which she did not write herself, also seemed to contain a discrepancy in the number of charges filed against the man.
The incident allegedly began with an altercation between the man and another strip club patron, who was brandishing a small folding pocket knife. An employee of the club who witnessed the incident reported that a co-worker attempted to separate the two men. The witness stepped forward to assist her co-worker when she claims she saw the man pull out a gun and fire four rapid shots.
The alleged shooter did receive treatment at a local hospital for stab wounds. Witness reports did not describe seeing him stabbed, but the defense attorney claims it makes no sense to think he fired his gun before receiving the stab wounds.
Discrepancies in witness statements are an unfortunate but expected challenge in criminal defense. Discrepancies among filings by the prosecution are more troubling. In the interest of discovering the facts, those facing criminal charges may find it helpful to consult an attorney.