David Fry testifies, Malheur defense not over

The defense may present more witnesses on Monday

David Fry and his attorney during opening statements in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation trial, September 13, 2016 (For KOIN: Sketch Artist Deborah Marble)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — David Fry took the stand Friday, becoming the 5th of 7 defendants in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge conspiracy trial to testify. Other witnesses also testified, but the defense has not yet rested its case.

David Fry, from a YouTube video posted Feb. 7, 2016. (YouTube)
David Fry in a YouTube video posted Feb. 7, 2016. (YouTube)

Fry was the last of the occupiers to leave the refuge, and only did so after hours of coaxing from law enforcement officials and the Rev. Franklin Graham. When they all shouted, “Hallelujah!” Fry surrendered.

Fry appeared calm on the stand and drew chuckles in the court a few times. He said he didn’t know how or why “Hallelujah!” came out at that time.

He’s on trial along with brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy, Shawna Cox, Neil Wampler, Kenneth Medenbach and Jeff Banta. Seven others accused in the conspiracy will go to trial in February.

The jury was sent home for the day mid-afternoon Friday. The defense may present more witnesses on Monday.

Thursday trial events

On Thursday, Shawna Cox testified about the traffic stop that ended with the death of occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum.

In a video played for the jury, Cox can be heard telling Finicum to “gun it” as they fled from an initial stop Jan. 26. Finicum later crashed into a snowbank and left the vehicle. Oregon State Police shot him as he reached toward the inside of his jacket, where he kept a handgun.

Cox testified Thursday she didn’t get out during the initial traffic stop because she heard gunfire and feared getting shot.

Complete coverage: Malheur National Wildlife Refuge takeover

Earlier in the week, Ryan Bundy — who is acting as his own lawyer — asked questions of his wife Angela. She testified she only packed a few days worth of clothes and no winter coat for her husband when he went to Burns.

Kenneth Medenbach also testified Tuesday, saying he’s waited 21 years to be where he is now and said he was at the refuge because he felt the government shouldn’t be allowed to own state’s land.

Ryan Bundy and Neil Wampler are the only defendants not to testify in their own defense.

If the defense rests Friday, prosecutors will begin their rebuttal and may possibly call Harney County prosecutor Steve Grasty. Closing arguments could begin early next week, with federal prosecutors going first. Each of the 7 defendants will be allowed to make closing arguments as well.

Then this case will go to the jury.