Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Edward D. Gingerich: The Only Amish Man Convicted of Murder

Final Stages

Katies mother, Emma Shetler, subpoenaed by the court, was the next to testify on behalf of the prosecution. Ed began to cry as she made her way to the stand.

How did the defendant and his wife, the victim, get along? Ferguson asked.

I dont know how to answer that, Emma replied.

When was the last time you saw the defendant before Katies death?

He was putting up ice.

At your house?

Yes.

Did you notice anything unusual about him?

No.

Ferguson asked a few more questions and then turned Emma over to Lewis, who declined to cross-examine.

Danny Gingerich was the next witness called by the prosecution. During Dannys testimony, he chronicled the events that took place the day of Katies death and was asked to read the statement he had given to the state police on the night of Katies murder. On cross-examination, the defense questioned Dan about his brothers mental problems and their trip to Jacob Troyers, the healers, home.

Following Danny Gingerichs testimony, the prosecution called an English sawmill customer to testify to Eds state of mind and two Pennsylvania State Police troopers, to recount the events following Eds ultimate arrest and confession. With their testimony complete, prosecutor Ferguson announced that the Commonwealth had rested its case. Don Lewis could not believe what he was hearing; the prosecution did not bother to produce one psychiatrist to testify to Eds sanity, a toxicologist to debunk the Gunk theory, or any of the Mill Village paramedics to describe the horrid crime scene. The jury was left with very little knowledge of who Katie Gingerich was, or how she had suffered.

The basis for Eds defense relied heavily on proving that he was in a severe mental state while committing his crime. To do this, Don Lewis relied upon testimony from Dr. Bernstein and Dr. John J. Spikes, a toxicologist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Spikess testified that the Gunk fumes had caused organic brain syndrome, a condition, which existed at the time of Katies murder. Douglas Fergusons cross-examination of Dr. Spike was about as comprehensive as the case he had earlier presented.

Have you ever spoken to the defendant? Ferguson asked.

No, Dr. Spikes replied.

Did you question anybody who saw the defendant on the day of the killing?

No.

Then everything you know about the defendant has come from Attorney Lewis?

Yes.

Do you know if the defendant used other products besides Gunk to clean engines?

No.

Do some furniture-polishing products contain petroleum distillates?

Yes. All things are toxic, some more than others.

Are skin rashes always a symptom?

No, but frequently. The organs remain affected after the petroleum distillates have passed through the system.

I have no further questions. Ferguson announced.

By the end of the defenses case, they had put fourteen witnesses before the jury-- twice as many as the prosecution.

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