AKRON, Ohio- A decorated Navy SEAL is on trial in Akron Municipal Court, accused of lying about being shot in the parking lot of a busy shopping plaza.
Christopher Heben, 45, of Medina pleaded not guilty to one charge of Falsification and a second charge of Obstructing Justice.
He told Bath Township police he’d been shot in the abdomen after an altercation in the parking lot of the Mustard Seed Market on Route 18 in Montrose on March 28, 2014 around 5:30 in the evening.
On Tuesday, the prosecution called two patrolmen to testify. Both told a jury they were parked in the same shopping plaza at the same time Heben claimed to have been attacked.
“Did you hear anything suggesting that an altercation had occurred while you were sitting there with Officer Riley?” asked Prosecutor Craig Morgan.
“No,” replied the officer.
“Did you hear any arguing?”
“Did you hear anybody yelling?”
“Did you hear any calls for help?”
“No,” said the patrolman.
Defense Attorney James Burdon attempted to discredit both officers’ testimony by reminding them his client had always maintained the confrontation was low-key. He said investigators were told there was no shouting, no sound of a gunshot and no sign or sound of a car speeding away.
“Usually if someone shoots someone else, they leave the area pretty quick,” said one patrol officer.
“They draw attention to themselves; is that what they do?” asked Burdon. “You don’t know, do you?”
“That’s just an opinion,” replied the patrolman.
“The reason you’re taking so long is ’cause you don’t know.”
“Just a humble opinion,” the patrolman said.
“Have you ever been involved or investigated a shooting before?”
“I have not,” said the patrolman.
Burdon told the jury in opening arguments that Bath police turned to his client as a suspect when their investigation went nowhere. He said there is no denying his client was shot.