BLOOMINGTON — An expert on gun laws will be allowed to testify at the murder trial of Kirk Zimmerman, a judge ruled Wednesday.

According to the state’s theory, Zimmerman grew increasing angry with his ex-wife over his child support obligations.

Days before her death, the 53-year-old victim mailed a demand to Zimmerman for his half of about $6,000 in expenses related to the couple's three children. She threatened to take Zimmerman back to court if the debt was not paid.

In a hearing Wednesday, defense lawyer David Mueller challenged the state’s plans to call Shae Cronin, an associate professor of criminal justice at Boston University Metropolitan College, as an expert witness on how gun laws influence the flow of weapons between states.

Mueller argued that an article co-authored by Cronin and six others on gun sales is insufficient to qualify him as an expert.

Jurors don’t need an expert to explain that differences in state gun laws impact gun sales, said Mueller.

“Nothing about this is complicated," said the defense lawyer.

Cronin’s testimony will help jurors understand how Zimmerman may have been able to easily buy a handgun in Crawfordsville, Ind., shortly before Pam Zimmerman’s death, argued Assistant State’s Attorney Aaron Fredrick.

Cronin’s opinion will be used to support a report by FBI Special Agent Greg Catey on the suspect’s alleged travel to Indiana.

Authorities have not recovered the murder weapon.

In his ruling, Drazewski noted that anticipated testimony from Cronin and Catey could be part of the state's circumstantial evidence that Zimmerman purchased a gun in a cash transaction from an Indiana gun dealer.

In a previous ruling allowing Catey’s report to be heard by the jury, the judge told prosecutors that an opinion should be provided in support of the state’s theory that Indiana’s lax gun laws impact the flow of guns into Illinois.

“We do not want any continuances,” Mueller said Wednesday.

The trial is expected to last four to six weeks with more than 100 witnesses. The list of exhibits exceeds 14,000, according to the state.

Photos: FBI agent presents cell tower data in Zimmerman murder

Contact Edith Brady-Lunny at (309) 820-3276. Follow her on Twitter: @pg_blunny


McLean County Courts Reporter

McLean County courts reporter for The Pantagraph.

Load comments