FARMINGTON Prosecution witnesses in the penalty trial of David Edward Drommond Jr. described for a jury Tuesday the chaotic and bloody scene that unfolded when a Bountiful man fatally gunned down his ex-wife while she dropped off their children for a visit, shot her father and then struggled with other men who tried to wrestle the gun from him.
Drommond, 32, pleaded guilty in December to shooting Janeil Bradley, 29, in August of 2005. Her father, Neil Reed Bradley, survived. The couple's two children, then 2 and 3 1/2, were rushed into a building by one of Drommond's roommates and were not physically hurt.
In exchange for Drommond's guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed charges of attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and a class A misdemeanor violation of a protective order.
The option of imposing the death penalty also was taken off the table.
Fourteen jurors were selected from a large jury pool Tuesday and given the task of deciding whether Drommond should get life in prison with no parole or 20-years-to-life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Prosecutor William McGuire told the jury this was not the first time Drommond had been violent in the marriage and that the victim received a protective order after Drommond tried to choke her. At the end of the testimony, McGuire said: "We will ask you to never allow him out of prison again."
But defense attorney Ed Brass said that although Drommond certainly deserves to be punished for what he did, the idea of life in prison without parole is a "life without hope." Brass said the couple had a fairly decent marriage for many years, but as David Drommond's mental health declined, so did the relationship.
Brass said Drommond needed substantial medication simply to sit before the jury and be functional, and it was important that the jury understand how Drommond got to the point where he killed the mother of their children.
Neil Reed Bradley testified that the couple's marriage appeared all right until David Drommond lost his job, the couple struggled financially and he eventually asked his wife for a divorce. Once they divorced, Bradley said his daughter at times seemed afraid of Drommond, so Bradley would go with her to drop off the children.
"There were some e-mails of great concern to her they were threatening to her. She would get scared. I would go stay at her house all night just to be there," Bradley said.
On the day Janeil Bradley died, her father was waiting in her car while the children and she went up a staircase to the townhouse where Drommond lived. The couple spoke, and then loud bangs rang out.
Bradley ran to protect his daughter but was shot twice. Still, he jumped Drommond to try to get a handgun away from him.
Joining in this was Ryan Zimmer, one of Drommond's roommates, who first got the children inside and then also fought for the gun. A neighbor, Jason vonWeller, also wrestled with Drommond and managed to grab the gun, despite the fact that Drommond at one point aimed it at his own head. The neighbor took off trying to unload the gun but was chased by Drommond, who tackled him twice before Drommond was then knocked into a drainage ditch by yet another neighbor.
Meanwhile, vonWeller's wife, Shalayne, who has some medical experience, was pressing towels on Janeil Bradley's bleeding head and trying to soothe Bradley's distraught and badly injured father.
"I asked her name," Shalayne vonWeller said, weeping as she testified. "I kept talking to her: 'Janeil, stay with me. Please stay with me."'The penalty phase of the trial is scheduled to run through Friday before 2nd District Judge Jon Memmott.
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