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September 20, 2012

Financial, marital problems exposed during first days of Gilliam trial

Wife of late London attorney accused of murder

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — A three-man, nine-woman jury began hearing evidence Monday afternoon regarding the January 2011 shooting death of London attorney Larry Gilliam.

Jurors were selected Monday morning, with opening statements presented by Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele and defense attorney, Robert Norfleet of Somerset, who is representing Gilliam’s wife, Lisa, in the murder charge.

Larry Gilliam died on Jan. 7 last year of a gunshot wound to the chest, which was listed on the initial autopsy report as “self-inflicted,” according to testimony given by Dr. Kristen Rolf of the Kentucky State Medical Examiner’s office. But Rolf then said that listing was “marked out” when the case was believed to have been a homicide rather than a suicide.

However, Kentucky State Police Fingerprint Analyst Paul Dorman testified  the fingerprint testing on the gun used in the shooting did not contain helpful information in determining who had touched the gun when the fatal shot was fired.

Dorman said his office used "super glue testing” which revealed “some smudges and some ridges” on the gun handle, but none on the trigger.

“There was no evidence to identify or exclude anyone,” Dorman said.

Scott Foster, co-counsel for Lisa Gilliam, questioned why DNA testing was not done on the firearm after fingerprint tests were inconclusive, to which Dorman said his agency performed tests requested by the submitting agency. In this case, the London Police Department requested fingerprints on the gun, not DNA testing.

Financial woes might have been a factor indicating suicide

Other witnesses  outlined some of Larry Gilliam’s financial problems. Douglas Benge testified he represented Gilliam in a divorce settlement appeal with Gilliam’s previous wife, Coleen. Barbourville attorney David Mills stated he represented Gilliam in an EPO (Emergency Protective Order) hearing against Coleen, in which Larry Gilliam sought to restrict Coleen from coming to his Fourth Street law office. Katie Gilliam, first cousin to the late attorney, said she met with Gilliam regarding filing bankruptcy. In fact, Larry Gilliam had returned an information packet on the bankruptcy case to Katie Gilliam’s office just that morning.

Despite his potential bankruptcy and other financial problems facing Larry Gilliam, all witnesses stated  Gilliam did not seem disheartened or unhappy on the day of his death.

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