Witness: Pro-Life Advocate Tried to Defend Himself With Sign When Shot, Killed

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 1, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Witness: Pro-Life Advocate Tried to Defend Himself With Sign When Shot, Killed

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 1
, 2010

Owosso, MI (LifeNews.com) — A witness at the trial of Harlan Drake, who stands accused of killing pro-life advocate James Pouillon as he protested abortion outside a local high school, indicates Pouillon tried to shield himself with his sign as Drake repeatedly shot the longtime local abortion protester.

The trial of Harlan Drake, the Michigan man accused of killing Pouillon and a local businessman, began last week.

According to a Flint Journal report, Alana Beamish had just dropped her son off at Owosso High School when she "had a front row seat" to the killing of Pouillon and was the first person to try to assist him afterwards.

Beamish told the court that Drake cut her off and drove past her in his white truck and stopped at the curb where Pouillon was holding a pro-life sign. She said she saw Drake take his time to steady his hand and fire off shots at Pouillon, who attempted to use his sign to protect himself.

The newspaper indicates she said Drake then moved his car closer and fired again.

"The shots rang out again and he fell to the side and onto his front," she said. "He was shot all the way around his body," and there were "bullet holes everywhere."

Beamish gave Pouillon CPR as another witness chased after Drake as he drove away.

During opening arguments, the Journal reports, Drake’s attorney Robert Ashley said Drake was facing depression resulting from a 2004 automobile accident involving him and two teenager that resulted in their deaths.

"No one held Mr. Drake responsible for the deaths of those children … no one, except Mr. Drake," said Ashley, according to the Flint newspaper.

The defense is expected to resort to a criminal insanity defense saying Drake was not in his right mind when he shot Pouillon and businessman Mike Fuoss.

The trial, which is expected to take three weeks, will see Drake’s family and experts talk about his depression and mental health history leading up to the shootings.

In her opening, Assistant Prosecutor Sara Edwards told the jury that drake targeted Pouillon and Fuoss because they had wronged him and his family in the past. She said Drake had said Pouillon’s graphic abortion signs upset him and his mother.

"The defendant set out to murder a man who upset his mother," she said, according to the newspaper. "He was showing that he knew what he was doing."

Drake has already admitted killing Pouillon and Fuoss.

If Drake is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he will be sent to a state mental facility for evaluation and possible treatment, but he could be released back into the community.

Drake has already been treated for mental health issues after he was declared incompetent to stand trial, and his competency was later established by the court.

Pouillon was a regular protester at the Feminine Health Care Clinic in Flint, Michigan, operated by abortionist Alberto Hodari.

Since his death, Hodari has placed that abortion clinic up for sale in the wake of a lawsuit filed by Caitlin Bruce who alleges that Hodari forced an abortion on her there even though she had withdrawn her consent after viewing her pre-born baby on ultrasound.

Operation Rescue eventually named Pouillon its pro-life person of the year.

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