JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) -- A surprise twist in the trial of Dale Bagshaw, the Southern Indiana man accused of stabbing his wife to death. Instead of the final testimony and closing arguments, the last witness was disqualified over a conflict of interest.
“Angry, upset, I feel like this should have been looked into a year ago, not the last day”, Donna MacDonald said, echoing the feelings expressed by many in the halls of the Clark County Court House.
A friend of Kelly Bagshaw's family, Donna and about a dozen others have sat through seven days of the trial of the man who killed her. Wednesday was supposed to be the last day of the trial, but a surprise objection by the defense brought it to a halt.
“We believe the objectivity in this case totally eliminated and wasn't going to be present," defense attorney Perry McCall said.
Dale Bagshaw's attorneys have been arguing that he was not mentally competent on the November day in 2011 when he stabbed his estranged wife Kelly nearly 60 times.
Wednesday morning a second court appointed psychiatrist was set to testify that Bagshaw was not in fact insane when he killed his wife. However, before he could take the stand the defense uncovered that same psychiatrist treated Bagshaw in jail, before he was appointed to evaluate him in trial. Bagshaw's attorney considers that a conflict of interest.
“I know if I have a conflict as a professional and it's my duty not the have a conflict and I believe if you look at the standards for his practice that you'll understand that that was a conflict and he should have recognized that and not performed the evaluation," defense lawyer Perry McCall said.
The judge sided with Bagshaw’s attorney.
To use the insanity defense, Indiana law requires that in addition to any expert witnesses, lawyers provide two court-appointed, independent, impartial, mental health professionals to examine the accused.
One has already testified that Bagshaw was not insane when he killed his wife in the parking lot of his Jeffersonville apartment complex. Now the revelation about the second's previous treatment of the 48-year-old has caused a court recess until Friday at the earliest during search for another psychiatrist. As far as the prosecutor is concerned, no new evaluation would be accurate.
“ With him [Bagshaw] sitting through this trial and listening to all the testimony, for him to then sit down with a psychiatrist knowing what he needs to say or should say based on the questions is not going to result in a fair psychiatric evaluation of him in my opinion.”
For Kelly Bagshaw's loved ones this does not only compromise their quest for justice, it also delays repairing what is left of her family.
“I was hoping they would hurry up and get it over with because I want to talk about the kids. These kids don't have a mama, they don't have a daddy anymore," MacDonald said.