WALLA WALLA — Daniel D. Dodd steadfastly told the jury at his murder trial Wednesday he did not kill Kevin Myrick in June 2011.
Dodd testified that although he was aware his girlfriend had sold prescription drugs to a confidential informant named Kevin, Dodd didn’t know him, hadn’t met him, didn’t know where he lived or anything else about him.
“Did you kill Kevin Myrick,” his attorney, Michael de Grasse asked after Dodd took the witness stand.
“No, I did not,” Dodd replied, looking in the direction of jury members.
Did he plan to kill Myrick, discuss it with anyone, ever admit to doing so or tell anyone he had any role in Myrick’s murder or want him to die, de Grasse inquired in rapid-fire questioning.
Dodd adamantly denied it all.
During Dodd’s hourlong testimony, De Grasse led him through a review of his life. Dodd grew up in Walla Walla, graduated from Walla Walla High School in 1988 and moved out of his parents’ home.
He acknowledged burglarizing DeSales Catholic High School in 1989, saying he did so to steal items to pay rent. Later, he also was convicted of manufacturing marijuana.
Dodd became a seasonal worker, boat builder and a mechanic, eventually meeting the love of his life, Tina Taylor.
But he also developed a drug problem — methamphetamine.
Dodd said that when Taylor was arrested in March 2011, “I needed to do something to help Tina get out of her problem.” He tried to round up money for a different attorney for her, he testified.
Taylor’s mother, Rose Elmore, gave him Taylor’s cellphone, which he used to call Taylor nearly every day while he was lying low staying with Clayton Sibbett in the Clyde area to avoid serving time in the County Jail on a driving-while-revoked charge.
On June 12, 2011, the day Myrick was killed, Dodd drove his vehicle to the top of a hill in Clyde — where cellphone service was available — to receive a call from Taylor at the jail, he testified. But he said he didn’t come to Walla Walla that day.
Earlier testimony gleaned from cell tower records revealed that Dodd’s phone was in the vicinity of Myrick’s residence just before he was shot.
But in questioning by de Grasse, Dodd agreed someone could have taken the phone from his vehicle — where he always kept it — then returned it without him knowing.
Dodd also told the jury he has never handled a handgun of any kind in his life, and said those who testified earlier Wednesday were not telling the truth.
Sibbett was called to the witness stand by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Gabriel Acosta.
Sibbett maintained he loaned Dodd a handgun, which officials suspect is the weapon that killed Myrick.
Sibbett — who acknowledged he then was a full-time drug dealer — told the jury that after Dodd’s girlfriend was busted, Dodd “asked me if he could borrow a pistol.”
Sibbett said Dodd told him, “He wanted to take this guy out,” adding that Dodd didn’t mention any names.
When Dodd returned the gun, he told Sibbett, “It’s a done deal,” according to Sibbett’s testimony.
Later, Sibbett gave the gun to a friend, Donald Cummings. But Sibbett said Dodd later told him, “The gun was no good. Get rid of it.”
Therefore, Sibbett testified, he told Cummings: “It’s no good. It’s been used. You need to get rid of it.”
So he and Cummings went to Hood Park at the Snake River and he watched Cummings throw the gun in the river.
From the witness stand, Sibbett described the weapon as a .357 magnum and identified it through a picture as the one authorities later recovered from the river.
But under cross-examination by de Grasse, Sibbett — who currently is lodged in the County Jail — said the gun was loaded with .357 magnum bullets when he loaned it to Dodd.
Authorities believe Myrick was killed by a .38-caliber slug that was found outside his residence where he was shot.
De Grasse also pointed out inconsistencies in Sibbett’s testimony compared to a timeline offered by the prosecution, in addition to discrepancies with Cummings’ testimony last week.
The jury also heard Wednesday from Taylor’s brother.
Michael Avery said he and Dodd were in Avery’s mother’s garage in the early evening of June 11, 2011, the day before Myrick was shot.
Avery said Dodd briefly pulled a gun out of his backpack and asked if it would make a lot of noise. But when Acosta showed Avery a picture of the weapon recovered from the Snake River, he said it didn’t look like the same gun because the hand grips were a different color.
Avery acknowledged he had been drinking beer and smoking methamphetamine when he saw the gun in the garage and agreed under cross-examination he was addicted to alcohol and certain drugs.
Testimony in Dodd’s trial is expected to end this morning. The jury may begin deliberations around midday.
TRIAL AT A GLANCE
Daniel D. Dodd, 43.
Kevin Myrick, 24, who was shot in the face about 10:20 p.m. June 12, 2011, while working on his girlfriend’s vehicle in the driveway of his residence at 1123 S. Third Ave. He died the next day at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Superior Court charges:
First-degree murder, including a firearm enhancement that would add five years to a sentence. Dodd also is accused of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. (Dodd is not allowed to possess a gun because he was convicted in 1989 of second-degree burglary.) If convicted of the charges, he would face more than four decades in prison.
The trial began Nov. 6.
Information and allegations relating to the case: Myrick was an informant for the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office who had made a number of controlled drug buys, including one from Dodd’s girlfriend, Tina L. Taylor. She was arrested March 1, 2011, for delivery of hydrocodone and Myrick was a prospective witness against her.
When Dodd allegedly killed Myrick to eliminate him as a prospective witness, Taylor’s trial was set to begin later that month. She ended up pleading guilty and was sentenced to more than eight years in prison.
During the murder investigation, police learned that Dodd’s roommate, Clayton Sibbett, had loaned him a Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver about four days before Myrick was killed. Such a gun is consistent with one that will fire a .38-caliber slug that apparently had exited Myrick’s body and was found under a bush at the homicide scene.
A few hours after the murder occurred, Dodd returned the borrowed gun to Sibbett, who then gave it to a friend, Donald Cummings, about three or four days later. Cummings ultimately threw the gun into the Snake River under the bridge at Hood Park. After Cummings showed police the location on March 6 of this year, Columbia Basin Dive Rescue recovered a revolver matching the suspected murder weapon.
Dodd — who had been incarcerated on unrelated warrants since June 16, 2011 — was charged March 12 with Myrick’s murder and remains in the County Jail.
An examination by the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab of the bullet found at the crime scene was inconclusive as to whether it had been fired by the gun that was recovered. But the gun couldn’t be ruled out as the murder weapon.
Dodd has denied having anything to do with Myrick’s death and said he was at his home on Wooden Road the night Myrick was killed.
However, investigators determined that his cellphone received a voice mail at 10:15 that night. “The cellphone tower transmitting the call is located on South Third (Avenue) in Walla Walla, and encompasses the area of 1123 S. Third Ave,” according to a police report.