Lewis homicide trial continues with expert, witness testimony

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Jul. 14—FAIRMONT — The trial for the man accused of killing 21-year-old Dylan Matthew Harr continued Wednesday with the prosecution cementing the facts of the case.

David Hunter Lewis, 22, of Bridgeport, is charged with the murder of Harr, and the state posits Lewis shot him in the chest with a firearm after a series a disputes culminating in the shooting in December 2020. He is also charged with the use of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

The jury heard testimony Tuesday from two of the residents living at or near 1009 Bryant St., the scene of the incident. Neither Lewis nor Harr were on the lease of the Bryant Street apartment, but were each friends of the residents at the time and were frequent visitors to the home.

The two were often at odds, and just prior to the December events, Lewis was temporarily living at the apartment.

Leading up to the shooting, witnesses said Lewis and Harr engaged in a series of disagreements which ended to a "fistfight by appointment," as described by Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Freeman.

Russell Scritchfield, one of the renters of the Bryant Street apartment, testified that after the organized fight, the two seemed to be on good terms. Just days later however, Harr was shot dead after following Lewis out of the apartment the night of Dec. 15, 2020.

The major witnesses Wednesday were the forensics team who handled the evidence and the detectives who worked the case.

Thomas Young, a forensic pathologist who works with the West Virginia Chief Medical Examiner, performed the autopsy on Harr and testified to the types of injuries Harr sustained after the gunshot.

The angle of the wound is of note, due to its steep trajectory through Harr's body. The bullet entered just above the sternum and exited out of the middle of his back.

"[Harr's] left common carotid artery was transected, the bullet went right through it," Young testified. "There was a lot of bleeding behind the spine and neck and there was over two liters of blood in his chest cavity."

In a typical 21-year-old body, there is about five liters of blood at any given time, so Harr lost half his blood from the gunshot, according to Young. Harr was rushed to Fairmont Medical Center but still succumbed to his injuries.

The major pieces of evidence linking Lewis to the murder — aside from witness testimony — are a black, zip-up hoodie he was wearing when he was arrested that night and a pile of clothing ditched near the crime scene that belongs to Lewis.

The hoodie's right pocket has a bullet hole exiting the fabric, and gunshot residue tests completed on the hoodie showed evidence of a gunshot from inside the pocket. Lewis' right hand also tested positive for a gunshot.

Farrah Machudo, a forensic scientist with the West Virginia State Police Forensics Laboratory, was in charge of evaluating the GSR tests that were conducted on Lewis.

She concluded that the evidence pointed to a gunshot being fired out of the jacket pocket by Lewis. The prosecution's leading theory is that Lewis put his arm around Harr with his hand in his unzipped hoodie pocket and fired the weapon down through Harr's chest.

The theory is backed up by Young's testimony saying the wound on Harr was consistent with one fired through multiple layers of clothing.

The defense had very little cross-examination, limiting it to questions about minute details that could insinuate Lewis had not planned to harm Harr. No details have been provided about the firearm or its ownership.

Scott Shough, the lead defense attorney, questioned Young on the other possible causes for the type of gunshot wound found on Harr. Young said it could result in a shot from several feet away, as it was lacking the signs of an up-close gunshot, but that was explained away by the prosecution, pointing to the shot coming from the jacket pocket.

The trial is expected to continue throughout the week.

Reach David Kirk at 304-367-2522 or by email at dkirk@timeswv.com.