Shooting trial begins with graphic testimony

Grisly details of the multiple injuries suffered by the victim in a March shooting highlighted opening-day testimony in what is expected to be a four-day attempted murder trial in Jackson County Circuit Court.

The prosecution alleges Grants Pass resident Charles Alexander White II, 29, who is black, shot Timothy James Sheeler, 29, who is white, at least five times — with three of the shots fired after the victim had hit the ground near the corner of 12th and Grape streets.

Bullets tore through Sheeler's shoulder, blew off tips of two of his fingers and ripped apart his intestines shortly after 6 p.m. on March 10.

Sheeler must wear the colostomy bag he showed to jurors in Judge Lorenzo Mejia's courtroom — until and unless he has further surgery, said Eric Dames, a Jackson County district attorney.

White faces a single charge each of attempted murder, first-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and being a felon in possession of a weapon.

Speaking softly, Sheeler pointed out White as the man who shot him while he was walking toward a west Medford market. White sprang out of nowhere, shouting "What now, sucker?" Or "What now, cracker?" — and then began firing, he said.

"When he pointed the gun up, he had it right by his face," said Sheeler. "As soon as I saw the gun I turned around to run. I was hit a couple more times when I was down."

White's defense attorney, Christopher Missiaen, argued his client has been mistakenly identified as the "light-skinned African American" shooter after being "in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The state has no physical evidence linking White to the scene of the crime or the gun, Missiaen said. It also refused to check on evidence that might have exonerated his client, he added.

"Law enforcement declined to test fiber evidence," Missiaen said. "Mr. White's clothing and gloves were not tested for gun-shot residue."

Dames said it is unclear why White fired, but said it is clear White's intent was to kill Sheeler. It was White's "cheap firearm" that saved Sheeler's life, Dames said.

White continued to fire after Sheeler fell to the ground, bullets ripping into his backpack, denting his laptop computer and sending bullet fragments skipping along the sidewalk. White's gun eventually jammed, said Dames.

"A live round was stove-piped (trapped in the gun), ending the shooting," he said.

Later in the trial, witnesses are expected to recount that White allegedly made racial remarks before approaching Sheeler, Dames said. Multiple witnesses saw White shooting Sheeler. Others saw him running from the scene, he added.

Although officers and detectives flooded the area searching for him, White was found at the China Hut restaurant, 450 S. Riverside Ave., about 90 minutes later by an officer responding to another call, he said.

Both the victim and the defendant have criminal records. White was originally arrested at the restaurant on charges of possession and distribution of methamphetamine and a probation violation warrant.

Sheeler served time in prison in 2000 for burglary and theft crimes. He was using methamphetamine and marijuana prior to the shooting. He is currently in jail for being a felon in possession of a weapon. Sheeler said he was carrying brass knuckles because he is fearful to be on the street after the shooting.

"I'm nervous," Sheeler said. "I don't know who he is and I don't know why I got shot."

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail

Share This Story