Prosecution Rests in James Pouillon Shooting Case, Says Abortion Motivated It

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 5, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Prosecution Rests in James Pouillon Shooting Case, Says Abortion Motivated It

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 5
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — The prosecution has rested in the case involving the shooting death of pro-life advocate James Pouillon of central Michigan. Prosecuting attorneys made the case that Harlan Drake shot Pouillon, and then a local businessman, because Pouillon used graphic pictures to oppose abortions.

During the trial, prosecutors pointed out that Drake confessed to shooting Pouillon and said he did so because of abortion.

“I just drove and stopped, and I shot (Jim Pouillon),” Drake said in a recorded police interview, according to the Argus Press newspaper. “He was still moving so I shot him one more time. I aimed under the ribcage going up toward the heart.”

The interview shows Drake didn’t like the fact that Pouillon would use images of unborn children killed in abortions during his protests outside a local high school. Pouillon also used images of fetal development that are not graphic.

“I’m not against anti-abortion. I’m against showing little kids those pictures,” Drake said during the interview. “I asked him over the years not to do that in front of the kids. A little kid shouldn’t have to look at that."

Det. Sgt. Scott Shenk recorded the nearly 45-minute interview, according to the newspaper, and said Drake willingly let himself be recorded by police.

“He stated that he was going to make our job very easy,” Shenk said on the stand.

The recording, the newspaper indicates, has Drake saying he shot Pouillon four times and planned his death the night before. Prosecutors played the entire recording for the jury as they read along with a printed transcript.

Drake is heard telling police about how he planned to kill Pouillon at the high school saying, "I figured if he was there, I’d make sure he wasn’t there (again)."

During the first day of defense testimony, Drake’s mother, Kim Staples, admitted to having had a grudge against all three men that Drake had targeted for death. She had been very vocal in her opposition to Pouillon’s abortion protests in the days leading up to his murder.

Operation Rescue president Troy Newman emailed today about the trial.

"We continue to pray for the victim’s families and for justice to be done. Mr. Drake has confessed that he planned ahead before he murdered two innocent men, and would have killed a third if not stopped by police. He needs to be held accountable for those actions in the interest of justice," he said.

"Anything less would diminish the lives of Jim Pouillon and Mike Fouss," he added.

Testimony is expected to resume on Monday.

Earlier, a witness at Drake’s trial indicated Pouillon tried to shield himself with his sign as Drake repeatedly shot the longtime local abortion protester.
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."

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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