Judge in hot dog vendor murder trial denies request for immunity
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The well-known hot dog vendor accused of murder in an alleged road rage incident testified in court on Wednesday.
Donald Hayes answered questions from the defense and prosecution for more than an hour, explaining to the jury what he says happened on June 21, 2014. Hayes told the jury he was going home when a car, driven by Danny Wilson, got in front of him on the Watterson Expressway.
"It began when this fellow (Danny Wilson) pulled over in front of me and hit his brakes," Hayes said.
That's when the road rage incident started. The two men were weaving in and an out of traffic passing each other. Wilson pulled into a bank parking lot off Poplar Level Road and Hayes followed. Hayes told the court he wanted to find out what "Wilson's deal was."
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"I didn't want a confrontation because I can't street fight anymore," Hayes said.
The incident in the bank parking lot only lasted 13 second. Hayes said no words were exchanged between the two. Wilson broke Hayes's window with a bat and Hayes fired his gun. The bullet hit Wilson's car frame, splitting it in two striking Wilson in the face. He died at the hospital.
Hayes said he fired in self-defense and didn't know whether or not he had hit Wilson. Hayes said he went home and called 911 to tell police he fired his weapon.
A special prosecutor, Barbara Whaley, was brought into this case since Wilson is known to so many in the court house and law enforcement. When Whaley asked Hayes questions about the June 21 incident, Hayes appeared to answer her questions calmly.
Before the trial started on Wednesday, there was a motion hearing. The judge ended up overruling three motions requested by the defense. The first to grant Hayes immunity, the other for a directed verdict. She also overruled on the defense request to have a witness who was involved in a previous road rage incident testify during the trial.
Judge Mary Shaw did allow Danny Wilson's wife to be recalled to the stand to testify. She was asked questions about her husband's previous road rage incidents.
Closing arguments are expected on Thursday.
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