The doctor who did the autopsy on a Portage woman who was found dead at a rural Knox home last June is scheduled to testify today in the murder trial of her accused killer. Gary Chavez is charged with murder in connection with his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez’, death. He is also charged with kidnapping and carjacking in connection with other incidents that occurred on June 6, 2014. Several police officers and evidence technicians are also on today’s witness list.
Yesterday the Knox man who claims Chavez kidnapped him from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center at gunpoint was the first to testify. Bryant Wagner said Chavez ordered him into the passenger seat of his 2005 Monte Carlo at gunpoint and kept the weapon trained on him as he drove toward Toto. While driving, Wagner said Chavez told him he had killed his wife and was on the run.
“It was like he was venting about his actions. Not really at me, just trying to get it out,” Bryant said. He described Chavez and hyper and a little bit distraught and said his mood ranged from calm to panicked.
Wagner says Chavez ordered him to make telephone calls as he drove. One was to a longtime friend, whose wife, Cheryl Starkey, answered the phone. She testified Chavez told her he stabbed Kimberly during their very brief conversation.
Wagner’s car was running out of gas, so he said Chavez drove to English Lake in search of another vehicle to steal. That’s where he’s alleged to have commandeered a Jeep Grand Cherokee at gunpoint from a couple there. The Jeep’s owners, Richard Boisvert and his fiancée, Juli Wilson, both cried as they told the jurors how Chavez pulled into their driveway, demanded their keys and took their vehicle. Wilson was on her way home from work in Westville when the Jeep overheated. She called Boisvert to come and get her. He was driving the Jeep and she was behind him in his truck when they pulled into their driveway. After Chavez left, Boisvert called 911 and reported the carjacking. The Jeep broke down near Hebron, where another witness testified Chavez stole a pickup truck from him.
Kimberly Chavez’ sister, Dawn Eidman, was the final witness to testify yesterday. She said her sister was unhappy, and she and Gary fought all the time over money and Kimberly’s son, Christopher. Eidman said her brother-in-law was also very possessive and would get mad if other men looked at her sister. She said they separated on more than one occasion and testified Kimberly had been living with another man, first in Portage and later in South Haven, in the year prior to her death.