Joanne Ainsworth only glanced once at the man who killed her husband.
She was asked to point him out in court. Dennis Tribble faces first-degree murder charges for a second time.
"One of the neighbors said he'd shoot somebody, but I never imagined he would," said Joanne Ainsworth, the victim's wife.
Tribble admits he shot his neighbor Michael Borello five times in North Wolcott in September 2000-- a crime Tribble was already convicted of.
Tribble's legal case was a headache from the start for the judicial system. He fired numerous lawyers, disrupted court proceedings, demanded to represent himself and then refused to show up for trial.
A jury found him guilty in 2002. But the conviction was thrown out by the Vermont Supreme Court because it violated constitutional standards, basically because he didn't mount an adequate defense.
So, Tribble is back on trial again.
"A claim of self-defense is completely unjustified in this case," Lamoille County Prosecutor Joel Page said.
And prosecutors again will try to prove Tribble planned to kill Borello.
The state says Tribble first shot Borello with a pistol, then switched weapons during the shooting spree-- grabbing a loaded shotgun. He allegedly fired four more times, killing Borello on his 43rd birthday.
"He was just trying to get away," Page said. "The defendant met him, raised the shotgun and that final shot left a hole two inches in diameter, killing him instantly."
"This is not a who done it case," said Dan Maguire, Tribble's lawyer. "This is a case of why. Why done it?"
The defense claims Tribble felt harassed and threatened by his neighbors. There were reports of ongoing friction between property owners. Even Tribble's attorneys also say Tribble is delusional and paranoid and felt his life was in danger. They laid out a self-defense claim.
"He was adamant that he was in a life or death situation. He was not pleased with his activity. He was not pleased with what happened," Maguire said.
The victim's wife told the jury she never expected the neighborhood problems could turn deadly, taking away her husband and the father of her two kids.
"He was loved by a lot of kids," Ainsworth said.
Tribble has maintained since his arrest that he is not mentally ill. Again Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty.
This new trial continues Thursday and is expected to last about two weeks. If convicted, Tribble could get 35 years to life in prison.
Tribble really acted out during the first trial. But he was fine in court Wednesday, completely cooperative, whispering to his lawyers instead of yelling. And Channel 3 has learned the court has special plans in place if he does act up.
Friday, March 7 2014 11:46 AM EST2014-03-07 16:46:45 GMT
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