Emotional testimony continues in Winchester trial

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 11, 2012 

A witness described a day that started with scrapping metal for cash and ended in a tragic loss during the trial of a man whose son was killed in a Lynden shooting last fall.

Gavin Glyzinski was in turns laughing and sobbing as he testified Tuesday, April 10, about the day he spent with defendants Jeremiah Winchester and Johnny Arellano late last November that ended with the shooting death of Winchester's son, Jesse, after what police have called a drug deal gone bad.

Both men have been charged with two counts of attempted drug possession - heroin and methamphetamine - and one count of first-degree attempted robbery, while Winchester has an additional count of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Glyzinski also had been charged with the drug and robbery offenses, but the robbery charge was dismissed on the condition that he cooperate with authorities and testify in court if needed, according to court documents. He pleaded guilty April 3 to two counts of attempted drug possession, and the state recommended a prison sentence of nearly seven years.

Glyzinski testified that on Nov. 22, he and Arellano came from Skagit County to Whatcom to meet with Jeremiah Winchester to scrap some metal at a recycler. Afterward, Glyzinski, Arellano, Winchester and his son went to the Silver Reef Casino, then bought some liquor and went back to Jeremiah Winchester's house.

Glyzinski said he, Arellano and Jesse Winchester used methamphetamine there before heading over to the Lynden home of Melinda Wilson, whom he said owed Jeremiah Winchester some money. When the four men arrived at Wilson's house later that night, she gave them a laptop to pay the debt.

Jeremiah Winchester told Glyzinski that some drug dealers who had previously robbed Wilson of a couple ounces of heroin were coming by for a deal with someone in the house, so Wilson asked Winchester to stay until it was over. Winchester said they were going to "shake them down" for the money they owed Wilson, and if there was more money, drugs or guns, they would take that too, Glyzinski said. Jesse Winchester got a bulletproof vest for himself out of a duffel bag he'd brought and a flak jacket for Glyzinski because Wilson said that the dealers usually carried guns.

But when the time came, things went wrong quickly, with Jeremiah Winchester getting shot in the face and his son getting killed as he tried to chase the shooter down.

Though another witness had previously testified that he didn't see Jeremiah Winchester with a gun, Glyzinski said Winchester had a .357 in his hand in the hall where the shooting occurred. He dropped it when he was shot and Glyzinski picked it up and fired it at one of the drug dealers running down the stairs. He heard four more shots downstairs and later saw Jesse Winchester slump down to the ground at the bottom of the stairs.

Glyzinski and Jeremiah Winchester were both in tears Tuesday as he described what were likely some of Jesse Winchester's last moments. Jesse told Glyzinski he'd been shot but he didn't think it was that bad. He wanted Glyzinski to check on his dad. Jesse Winchester died at the scene.

The prosecution is expected to wrap up with its witnesses Thursday.

Reach ZOE FRALEY at zoe.fraley@bellinghamherald.com or call 756-2803.

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