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Victim testifies in Edwardsburg attempted murder trial

Published 5:57pm Wednesday, August 1, 2012

CASSOPOLIS — Edwardsburg’s Trevor Claire said it felt like someone was dragging a chain through his body when Kevin Brian Vint shot him in the chest in an Edwardsburg pole barn earlier this year.

Vint, of Elkhart, then fired another shot into Claire’s leg, causing Claire to crumble to the concrete floor, near to death, around noon on Jan. 22.

Vint claims he fired both shots in self-defense, while Cass County Assistant Prosecutor Tiffiny Vohwinkle claims Vint fired those shots with the intent to murder.

The prosecution and defense wrapped up their closing statements in the late afternoon Wednesday after two days of testimony in Cass County Circuit Court.

Jury deliberation should begin Thursday morning.

Vint is facing four charges, including assault with intent to murder — a felony which carries a potential life sentence.

Vint and Claire took the stand Wednesday. Both admitted having a strained relationship ever since Vint began dating Claire’s ex-wife, Sara Claire-Broadbend.

Claire testified he was working on his minivan when Vint approached him and asked ‘if things were OK between them?’ Claire said ‘no’ and Vint pulled out a gun, with a laser scope attached to it, and pointed it at Claire while Claire was lying underneath the minivan. Claire then got out from under the vehicle and moved toward Vint, who shot him in the chest and the leg.

Vint then unloaded his weapon and placed it on a table before stepping outside to smoke a cigarette.

Vint said he saw something in Claire’s hand, possibly a tool, as Claire was coming toward him. He said he fired the shots in self-defense and never intended to kill Claire.

There were three other people in the pole barn at the time of the shooting, and no one testified to seeing anything in Claire’s hand.

Claire testified he didn’t have anything in his hand when he was shot.

Tim Reerdon, who said he knows the victim and defendant, provided potentially damaging testimony to the defense’s case. Reerdon said Vint told him at breakfast on Jan. 6 that he couldn’t beat Claire in a fight so he’d have to “put a cap in his ass.” Reerdon said he didn’t take Vint’s comments seriously.

The court also heard from Dr. Mark Thompson, a general surgeon at South Bend Memorial Hospital who worked on Claire after the shooting. Thompson testified 99 out of 100 people with Claire’s injuries would have died and said Claire is still in danger of dying today.

“He will never be the way he was before the shooting,” Thompson said.

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