Just one more witness left in Derrick Cosby trial — the defendant himself

Defense say he shot guest in self defense; prosecutors call it homicide. 

Jim Melwert
May 23, 2018 - 12:34 pm
Derrick Cosby

Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

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HATFIELD, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — As the trial wraps up against a Montgomery County man who claims the shooting of a guest in his home was self-defense, jurors heard differing versions of what happened that night, last summer. The defense claims the shooting was justified, but prosecutors call it homicide. 

Derrick Cosby is on trial for voluntary manslaughter for shooting and killing Jeremy Chasteen. Cosby was hosting a party at his Hatfield, Pa., home last July and says Chasteen was out of control and he feared for the safety of himself and his guests. But prosecutors say it’s homicide, as Cosby didn’t call police or warn Chasteen after he pulled his gun.

The day ended early in court, with only two witnesses testifying, both from the defense.

One witness said Jeremy Chasteen was out of control and could not be restrained. He said he and home-owner Derrick Cosby tried to escort Chasteen off the property after he took a swing at his wife. But the witness said Chasteen ran back into the house, and was choking his wife to the point her face was turning dark red. The witness, who says he was about 265 pounds at the time, said he was holding one of Chasteen’s arms but was unable to control him. 

He said he heard the Cosby yell several times at Chasteen, telling him to get out of his house before a gunshot struck Chasteen in the head.

Jurors also heard Wednesday from a defense expert who said Chasteen's wife wouldn’t necessarily have bruises or marks on her neck if she was choked. 

Jurors have already heard the statement Cosby gave to police the night of the shooting, in which he said Chasteen had already hit his wife and was choking her in his family room. He said. Chasteen had knocked other guests to the ground and was ignoring his demands to get out of his house.

Chasteen’s widow testified earlier in the case for the prosecution, saying they were arguing and her husband was aggressive, but she says at no point was she was choked or strangled.

Testimony is expected to wrap up Thursday. The judge had a scheduling conflict Wednesday and wanted to make sure there was enough time for the final defense witness -- expected to be the defendant, Derrick Cosby, taking the stand in his own defense.