Trish Bennett, Editor
CIRCLEVILLE – A phone call made by Trevor Teets to the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 1 ended the first day of testimony in his murder trial Monday in Pickaway County Common Pleas Court.
Though the playback was somewhat garbled in the courtroom on Monday, the content of the call reinforced the testimony of two other witnesses at the trial – that Teets was responsible for shooting Alicia M. Pentecost-Salyers outside his Caroline Court apartment on Super Bowl Sunday.
The call, which reportedly came through regular phone lines and not the 911 emergency system, begins with Teets telling dispatcher Travis Adkins, “Hi, I live at 129 Caroline Court, and I just killed somebody.”
As Adkins worked to get emergency crews dispatched, he determined the name of the victim and asked Teets why he killed her.
“Well, ’cause she’s my ex-girlfriend, and we got into a fight,” Teets replied. “You know, I have mental issues, and she pushed me to the edge, and I snapped.”
Teets admitted to the shooting several times during the call, at one point talking to his grandmother standing nearby.
“Grandma, I love you,” he said. “I’m going to prison.”
Then a woman’s voice is heard, saying, “Why?”
“I killed her,” Teets replied.
The woman spoke again: “You did not.”
“I been pushed to my breaking point,” Teets replied calmly. “Nobody would help me. I did. She’s laying out there beside her car dead.”
When Adkins asks Teets where he shot her, he responded, “In the head.” He can also be heard on the recording telling someone at the scene, “She’s dead. I shot her in the head.”
The admissions in the phone call mirrored the testimony of a friend on the scene of the shooting that day, as well as that of Ashville Police Officer Sara Hempstead, a former Circleville officer who was the first law enforcement officer to arrive on the scene.
Ariana Smith testified she had been staying with Teets since the Thursday before the shooting and was inside when Salyers arrived to pay Teets her share of the rent money, though she no longer lived in the apartment they shared, and to give him her key.
Smith said she went outside to check on her car as Teets and Salyers argued about the key, and about 10 minutes later, she saw Teets walk out of his apartment carrying a shotgun, with Salyers following behind him.
Smith testified that Teets walked up to the driver’s side window of Salyers’ car and began hitting it with the butt of the shotgun. Salyers walked around him to the other side, and shortly thereafter the gun was fired.
In Smith’s 911 call, which also was played in the courtroom, she told the Circleville Police dispatcher a woman had been shot, and they needed assistance.
“They were fighting, and he shot her,” Smith told the dispatcher, then named Teets as the shooter.
Officer Hempstead testified she was dispatched on a call of shots being fired on Caroline Court and had no idea upon her arrival that someone had been killed. She said the scene was chaotic when she arrived with people running through the apartment complex screaming and crying, and one woman was vomiting outside of her car in the parking lot.
Hempstead said a male subject, whom she identified as Teets, came out of the apartment at 129 Caroline Court and approached her.
“He walked directly toward me,” Hempstead said. “He maintained eye contact with me. He held his hands straight out in front of him with his wrists together and said, ‘Take me to prison. I killed her.'”
Additional witnesses called to testify for the prosecution on Monday were Dr. John Ellis, Pickaway County Coroner; Special Agent Todd Fortner, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI); Detective Phil Roar, Circleville Police Department; and Dispatcher Travis Adkins, Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office.
Witness testimony established a sequence of events for Feb. 1, which began with Salyers arriving at the apartment at 129 Caroline Court and subsequently being shot to death in the parking lot of the apartment complex.
After the shotgun discharged, Teets reportedly dropped the weapon on the ground and backed away from the scene, then returned to his apartment.
When Hempstead arrived, Teets was taken into custody and a perimeter was established to protect the crime scene. Salyers was declared dead by Circleville Fire Department EMS, and Dr. Ellis arrived to help process the scene and aid in the investigation.
Detective Roar called in BCI to process the scene and collect evidence, and Salyers’ body was sent to Montgomery County for autopsy.
Defense attorneys Jo Kaiser and Wes Davis cross-examined the prosecution’s witnesses throughout the proceedings on Monday, offering questions largely about procedures and the collection and testing of evidence.
With Smith, they established she was aware Teets had guns in the apartment and that his brother, Colin, also was at the apartment at the time of the shooting.
Hempstead established Salyers was dead upon her arrival, lying on the ground between two vehicles in the parking lot in a pool of blood. Hempstead’s responsibilities included guarding the body, the discarded weapon and the forensic evidence until the crime scene investigators arrived.
Dr. Ellis explained his role in the investigation and the subsequent coroner’s report based upon the Montgomery County autopsy results.
When Kaiser asked if there was anything that stood out to him about that particular crime scene, Ellis answered emphatically yes.
“Oh, that scene stands out in my mind, yes, ma’am, but only for the degree of violence,” he said.
Fortner testified to the evidence he collected at the scene and to the possible degradation of some of the forensic evidence due to the rainy weather the day of the shooting.
When asked by the defense if he performed a shooting reconstruction, Fortner said he did not.
“There was no disputed point that a reconstruction would have answered an investigative question,” he said.
Detective Roar testified to his observations at the scene and the steps taken at the county jail after Teets was taken into custody, and Adkins verified the recording played in court was the call he received from Teets the day of the shooting.
The trial is set to resume Tuesday morning in Pickaway County Common Pleas Court.
Teets has been incarcerated at the Pickaway County Jail since the time of his arrest Feb. 1. He received a mental health evaluation through NetCare and was declared competent to stand trial on Aug. 28.
Teets is charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter and domestic violence and faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted.
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal