Grand jury hearing Britton case
A special grand jury was selected last week to hear and examine evidence regarding the 2009 death of former Harrison County Jail commander Christine Britton.
Last Tuesday, special prosecutor Nancy Jacobs started the first of four days of closed-door testimony by several witnesses who will tell jurors what they know about the incident involving Harrison County Sheriff’s Deputy John Britton, who is on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of the case surrounding the death of his wife in March 2009.
In a grand jury, only the prosecution is allowed to present evidence. The grand jurors, who are allowed to ask the witnesses questions, will then decide whether they believe there is enough evidence for a trial.
According to a report filed by the Indiana State Police, Britton and his late wife had an argument in the couple’s home near Ramsey. During the argument, Christine Britton allegedly threatened to kill herself and made multiple attempts to get a gun from both John Britton and from a vault where the couple kept their weapons. The argument continued in their bedroom, where she again allegedly threatened to kill herself.
During an interview with ISP Sgt. Andy Squier, John Britton allegedly said he told his wife, ‘You want to kill yourself, fine,’ and laid a .40-caliber handgun on their bed and walked out of the room.
‘As he took a few steps, he realized he had made a mistake and turned, hearing a gunshot,’ Squier’s report reads.
In an emotional call to 911 dispatchers, John Britton said that the couple had been fighting and that his wife had shot herself.
According to a crime scene investigator’s report, blood evidence at the scene indicates that John Britton had not been in the area of the fatal shot. The report says the jeans, sweater and boots he was wearing were void of high-velocity blood spatter.
State police wanted to test John Britton’s hands but, when police arrived on the scene, EMT personnel were washing blood off of them with bottled water, the report says.