Jury hears from witnesses, sees body camera footage in day two of Cpl. Glenn Hilliard murder trial
WICOMICO COUNTY, Md. – Tuesday marks day two of the trial of the State of Maryland versus Austin Jacob Allen Davidson. Davidson is accused of shooting and killing Wicomico County Sheriff’s Corporal Glenn Hilliard in the line of duty last summer.
Day Two Begins
Before court proceedings started on Tuesday, Wicomico County State’s Attorney Jamie Dykes’ team could be seen wheeling eight large boxes and a paper brown bag of evidence in to the courtroom. As they settled in, defense attorney Archibald McFadden could be seen quietly conferring with his co-counsel.
As Davidson entered the courtroom, he kept his hands folded behind his back, and his eyes down. Davidson appeared with his hair tied up in a bun, out of his face, wearing black slacks and a long-sleeve button-up shirt.
The jury filed in shortly after; the group of 12 jurors and three alternates is made up of 11 women, and four men. They watched intently as prosecutors began their opening arguments.
Prosecutors Begin Trial
The prosecution’s opening arguments began with a quote they say Davidson uttered just six days before Cpl. Hilliard was murdered: “Any cop that tries to put me in that cell dies with me.”
Prosecutors told the jury they would see “overwhelming evidence and testimony” that Davidson “planned and prepared” before firing the three shots that took Cpl. Hilliard’s life. They added that Davidson’s friends and associates had been distancing themselves from him for months leading up to the incident, because of his actions and behavior; Davidson was “bouncing around” from house to house during that time, say prosecutors.
In the hours leading up to Cpl. Hilliard’s murder, prosecutors say Davidson posted Snapchats showing him with a handgun and “AK-style rifle.” At that same time, they say Davidson was on the run from police.
“This is not a person in hiding. This is a person with no respect for authority,” prosecutors told the jury. “He wants to show his friends that he’s a badass with a weapon, and he’s not afraid to use it.”
Prosecutors say Davidson wanted a confrontation that day, and was “parading” around Pittsville, rather than hiding from police. This, after prosecutors say Davidson had a friend drop him off at an abandoned home in Willards. Prosecutors say Davidson stashed the “AK-style rifle” with an obliterated serial number there, as well as two extended magazines, and ammunition.
When Davidson was running from Cpl. Hilliard later that day, prosecutors say Davidson had a 9mm Taurus laser-sighted handgun in his backpack. As Davidson was running from Cpl. Hilliard, prosecutors say Davidson flipped the backpack to his front, turned as he pulled the gun out, and shot at Cpl. Hilliard three times.
Later, prosecutors say they found more of Davidson’s belongings inside an RV in Pittsville; the handgun, 29 live cartridges, three magazines (one extended), the backpack, and clothing he was wearing at the time of the shooting.
While McFadden did not deny that Davidson shot and killed Cpl. Hilliard, he did say the prosecution had to prove that Davidson intended to kill. McFadden explained that leading up to the shooting, Davidson’s life was falling apart, and was planning to leave the Eastern Shore; Davidson never intended to hurt anyone, says McFadden.
McFadden also said that Davidson had intended to take his own life in that RV. Instead, he called an ex-girlfriend, who McFadden says convinced Davidson to turn himself into police. McFadden emphasized that Davidson sought out a Maryland Natural Resources Police officer on patrol, and surrendered with both hands in the air.
McFadden encouraged the jury to “take a clinical and hard look at all the evidence.”
Sheriff Lewis Testifies
Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis was the first witness to take the stand. He says he personally hired Cpl. Hilliard in 2012, after serving as a seasonal officer for Ocean City Police Department, then Crisfield Police Department, and finally Berlin Police Department.
Sheriff Lewis says he was very impressed with Cpl. Hilliard’s demeanor and composure. Adding, he knew Cpl. Hilliard very well, and spent a lot of time with him. The Sheriff described Cpl. Hilliard as a man of faith and high character, and explained that he was a member of the federal fugitive task force, worked in the criminal investigation division, was the department’s primary drone operator, a SWAT team member, and was very highly trained.
Next, Sheriff Lewis opened a brown paper evidence bag, containing Cpl. Hilliard’s holster belt, which he was wearing the night he was killed. The belt was still caked in grass and mud from when Wicomico County Sheriff’s Deputy First Class Chase Harmon dragged Cpl. Hilliard’s body out of the open field where he was shot. Sheriff Lewis appeared emotional as he looked at the belt.
Sheriff Lewis, who had said earlier that laser-sighted guns are “commonly used by criminals” was asked by McFadden how laser sights work, and what different types and qualities were available.
Social Media Fight Leads to Shooting, Says Prosecution
Dominic Killman was also called to testify. He is currently being held at Wicomico County Detention Center on a robbery charge.
Killman said he was a friend of Davidson’s years ago, and hadn’t been in contact with him until June of 2022. It was in the early days of that month that Killman says he saw a social media post advertising Davidson’s active warrants, and commented, saying that Davidson was “soft.”
Killman says Davidson then messaged him, saying he wanted to meet up and fight, and sent Killman his location at the time. Adding, Davidson didn’t want to travel to Salisbury to meet up with Killman because he was wanted there. Killman called 911 on June 12th, alerting dispatchers of Davidson’s location in Pittsville.
Talbot Apartments Residents Testify
Witnesses who lived at the Talbot Apartment complex at the time of the shooting, and who currently live there, also testified. Each witness was asked by Dykes to draw on a map of the scene, identifying their vantage points and positions throughout the incident.
Each of the three witnesses told the jury that they observed Davidson running into the parking lot complex, and Cpl. Hilliard pulling his cruiser in a short time later. They each said that Davidson was hiding in a stairwell, before running, and Cpl. Hilliard giving chase. The witnesses then described hearing gunshots.
Two witnesses said they directly observed the shooting. Two witnesses said Davidson shot Cpl. Hilliard from only an arm’s length distance. Two of the witnesses said they observed Davidson standing over Cpl. Hilliard’s body for a moment, before running away.
Cpl. Hilliard’s Body Camera Footage
The below description of Cpl. Hilliard’s body-worn camera footage is detailed, and graphic. Readers may find it disturbing.
The jury was also shown Cpl. Hilliard’s body-worn camera footage from the incident. In the footage, Cpl. Hilliard is seen pulling into the parking lot, and starting to chase Davidson on foot after exiting his cruiser. Cpl. Hilliard is seen running with his taser in hand, and heard repeatedly telling Davidson to stop running or he would be tased.
Just as Cpl. Hilliard is about to reach Davidson, the footage shows Davidson turn, pull a handgun with a red laser sight attached out of his backpack, and shoot at Cpl. Hilliard three times. The footage then shows Cpl. Hilliard immediately falling to the ground, going motionless and silent. Shortly after, you can see legs, that witnesses say were Davidson’s, approach Cpl. Hilliard’s body, pause, then run away.
Later, the footage shows DFC Harmon arrive, flip Cpl. Hilliard’s body over, and radio for help. DFC Harmon sounds shocked as he repeatedly says “Glenn?” DFC Harmon is then shown dragging Cpl. Hilliard’s body out of the open field. He is soon helped by a bystander, which is also shown in the video. The portion of the footage shown to the jury ended with EMS providers giving Cpl. Hilliard chest compressions, and saying he does not appear to be breathing.
As the jury was shown the footage, Davidson kept his eyes down, head in hands.