Shiawassee County, MI — The prosecution has rested in the murder trial of Harlan Drake, who is accused of gunning down a pro-life activist as he held an abortion sign outside of an Owosso, Michigan, high school, and another man on September 11, 2009.
Testimony included eye-witness accounts of the shooting of James Pouillon as he protested across the street from Owosso High School. Witnesses said that Pouillon was shot by Drake numerous times from his pickup, and that Pouillon tried to use his sign to shield himself from the bullets.
Evidence was presented that Drake told police during his confession that neither he nor his mother liked Pouillon or the way he protested abortion using graphic signs. During the first day of defense testimony, Drake’s mother, Kim Staples, admited to having had a grudge against all three men that Drake had targeted for death. She had been very vocal in her opposition to Pouillon’s abortion protests in the days leading up to his murder.
In the tape recorded confession played in court, Drake is heard telling police about how he planned to kill Pouillon at the high school saying, “I figured if he was there, I’d make sure he wasn’t there (again).”
Drake then went to a gravel pit owned by Mike Fouss and shot him multiple times. Drake had planned a third murder, but was arrested before he could carry it out.
Defense witnesses, mostly Drake’s family members, have testified that Drake was guilt-ridden over having been involved in an accident in 2004 that cost the lives of two teens. Drake’s defense attorneys are attempting to make the case that Drake was insane at the time of the murders.
“We continue to pray for the victim’s families and for justice to be done. Mr. Drake has confessed that he planned ahead before he murdered two innocent men, and would have killed a third if not stopped by police. He needs to be held accountable for those actions in the interest of justice,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Anything less would diminish the lives of Jim Pouillon and Mike Fouss.”
Testimony is expected to resume on Monday.