Trial starts for man shot with Taser
The trial of Carbondale resident Stephen Horn, who was shot by an officer with a Taser, began in Carbondale Municipal Court late Wednesday afternoon. On Aug. 6, 2004, Horn was repeatedly hit with a “stun gun” by Carbondale police officer José Muñoz after being stopped for allegedly running a stop sign while helping set up for the KDNK Blues and Barbecue event on Main Street.According to police reports, Horn disobeyed the officer’s command to stay in his pickup truck and walked up to Muñoz’s patrol car in what the officer believed was a threatening manner.Horn is charged with failing to stop for a stop sign, disregard for a lawful order of a police officer and resisting arrest.In a rare municipal court trial, Carbondale prosecutor Sherry Caloia called Muñoz as her first witness following opening statements.Muñoz said he pulled behind Horn’s truck and “all of a sudden the driver stormed out of the vehicle. He was extremely upset … I felt very threatened.”Muñoz drew his Taser gun and held it to his side.Tasers are non-lethal devices that deliver an electric shock either through projectiles that are shot into a suspect or through contacts at the end of the device.In opening statements, Horn’s attorney Richard Dally said, “Don’t be surprised if Mr. Horn has a different recollection of these events,” than those laid out by Caloia in her opening argument.He said on Aug. 6 Horn was having trouble shifting the truck and could not stop at the stop sign.Dally said he would argue during the remainder of the trial that Horn acted in self defense.Muñoz’s testimony continued late Wednesday, and the trial was expected to continue all day today and possibly Friday. More than 15 witnesses were scheduled to be called to the stand by both sides.
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