SPOKANE, Wash. — It is day two of the murder trial for the Spokane man accused of killing his ex-wife in August 2020 outside his home in Browne's Addition. It all happened after Mary Schaffer went to pick up their son and daughter from Nathan Beal's apartment.
We know from Spokane County court documents that Beal threatened his ex-wife. Mary said he even told her he had a bullet for her head. On Thursday, the jury learned from expert witnesses how a single bullet led to Mary's death.
A medical examiner testified that Mary died from a gunshot wound to the head. He said that gun was fired from only two feet away.
Police officers at the scene also found a bullet casing on the passenger side of Mary's rental car. The lead Spokane Police detective explained why this and the medical examiner's analysis led investigators to believe Mary was shot as she was getting out of the car.
"For the bullet to enter above her left eye, it was much more likely that she turns as though to get out of the vehicle at which point she is shot," Detective Benjamin Green said. "That also allows for, if the head is turned up and to the left as though exiting the vehicle, that bullet would travel through just above the eye, out the back of the head and maintain that trajectory into that vent."
Detective Green also pointed out that Mary's purse was still in her lap, and her foot was on the edge of the door. He said it appears the positioning of her foot would not be possible unless the door was open to some degree.
We also heard testimony from the daughter of Beal and Mary. Since she is a minor, we are not naming her and did not film her at the stand.
She told the jury that after her father returned to the apartment with mochas, he did not appear upset that her mother hadn't arrived to pick them up. He said their mom was stuck in traffic.
She also described his behavior as energetic and anxious.