Snow trial continues with first full day of testimony

A witness to the altercation between Bobby Joe Snow and James McElroy, and the designated driver for McElroy and his girlfriend that same night, took the stand Wednesday at the second-degree murder trial of Snow.

Brett Shull is married to McElroy's daughter Jamie and followed him the night he confronted Snow.

Shull testified that he spoke to Snow 20 minutes at Cocanana's Bar and Grill that night before returning to McElroy's home. That's when the victim walked to the bar and got into a verbal argument with Snow who was in a parked car.

Shull said he saw McElroy's arms flailing, but couldn't tell if he hit Snow. Snow then sped off and turned around on two separate occasions where the argument continued. Snow then parked near the victim's home and got out of his car.

Shull said Snow then immediately punched McElroy in the head dropping him to the ground.

"When I looked at him, his nose was all messed up," said Shull. "His eyes were rolling in the back of his head, and he was fighting to breathe because he was sucking for air real hard."

Shull said he then picked up McElroy and carried him to his lawn. He then called 911.

Michelle Gillen was the designated driver for McElroy and his then girlfriend that night. She was also at Cocanana's that night and saw Snow there. The witness said he got thrown out of the bar because he was banned.

Gillen said Snow appeared cooperative at first and then seemed angry. She said he then sped off and turned around in an alley.

That's when she saw McElroy and Shull appear on the street as McElroy approached Snow.

She said words were briefly exchanged before Snow sped off again and turned around. This would happen a third time.

Gillen said a verbal argument ensued between the two on the second occasion, but the third was too far out of sight for her to judge.

The witness said Snow returned to Cocanana's later that night.

"I'm sitting there talking to Cliff, and Bobby comes up and he stands there and he says 'I just knocked him out with one punch,'" said Gillen.

Cliff refers to Cliff Collett Sr., the ex-husband of the victim's then girlfriend. Gillen said she then saw Collett Sr.'s son, Cliff Collett Jr., running down the sidewalk with a baseball bat. She said he loudly declared that Snow had run over his sister, Robyn Assell-Collett. The witness then said Collett Sr. pulled out a knife.

Gillen took the bat from Collett Jr. and walked to McElroy's house. She saw McElroy laying in the street and Assell-Collett laying in the yard. Gillen said Assell-Collett was vomiting and screaming for her mother.

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Second-degree murder trial begins at the Wapello County Courthouse