Witnesses testify to seeing the victims stuggle for their lives

LYONS — The trial of a former Texas police chief accused of shooting and killing a young couple in Wayne County began Monday.

Timothy Dean is accused of shooting and killing Josh Niles and his fiancee, Amber Washburn, in Sodus last October.

Those who filled the courtroom Monday, including family members of both victims, were exposed to very graphic pictures from the crime scene. They also heard stories from witnesses who testified to seeing both of them struggle for their lives.

Dressed in a suit with his hair combed back and beard trimmed, Timothy Dean sat stoically during opening statements in which Wayne County Assistant District Attorney Christine Callahan laid out her case for the jury.

Callahan says Dean came to the area from Texas with a plan to kill Josh Niles, with whom his wife Charlene Childers had been embroiled in a custody battle. Childers pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the case last month. Prosecutors say Dean pulled the trigger but she was in on the plan.

Callahan says Amber Washburn was in the wrong place at the wrong time, pulling into the driveway while her boyfriend was being shot.

To make sure there were no witnesses, Callahan said Dean shot and killed her too, leaving her young son in the backseat of the car as it rolled across the street. 

Dean's defense attorney Joe Damelio disputed the story laid out by the prosecution. 

"Well, I'm not gonna tell you what our defense is but certainly someone has already pleaded guilty to these crimes," defense attorney Joe Damelio told the Daily Messenger's news partner, News 10NBC. "Two people have actually pleaded guilty to crimes associated with this case, and I believe that's what this case is all about." When asked directly, Damelio said that means Timothy Dean had no stake in it at all.

A third suspect, Bron Bohlar, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy, admitting to renting a car for Dean.

Childers is set to testify later this week.

After opening statements, a number of neighbors who were home at the time of the shooting took the stand, with many saying they saw a man in a dark hoodie.

The only neighbor who actually identified Dean as that man was Tiffany Thayer, who lives next door. 

She said she was at her kitchen window when Dean turned around after firing shots into Washburn's car and walked back to Niles, who was lying in the driveway, and continued firing at him.

On cross-examination, though, Thayer admitted the day of the shooting that she told police she didn't see the face of the shooter because she had ducked down to shield her young child. 

"Someone pointed the finger at my client after watching my client's face on the news thanks to you people," Damelio told News 10NBC.