Willie Nelson and Robert Duvall support Billy Joe Shaver


Photo:  Rod Aydelotte

By Michael Corcoran

Willie Nelson and Robert Duvall showed their deep friendship for Billy Joe Shaver, who is accused of aggravated assault for shooting Billy Coker in the face March 31, 2007, in Lorena, by sitting through about three hours of deadly dull proceedings Thursday in Waco.

“Hey, I want you to meet my bail bondsman,” Shaver said during one break, introducing Duvall to one of the people who packed the 90-capacity McLennan County courtroom. Photographers waited three deep outside the courtroom doors as the celebrities exited for lunch break.

Shaver, wearing a Texas flag tie and the same brown jacket he wore opening day, is expected to take the stand this afternoon after the prosecution calls its last witness.

There was a hold-up early in the day when prosecution asked to subpoena Nelson, whose appearance caused a stir, as a witness. Shaver’s attorney Dick DeGuerin argued that Nelson was free to come to the court and was only a character witness. The subpoena was eventually dropped and the parade of prosecution witnesses, doctors, policemen and forensic specialists, continued.

Dr. Scott Peterson, the trauma specialist who treated Billy Coker after he was shot outside Papa Joe’s bar in Lorena, 15 miles south of Waco, was a somewhat feisty witness when questioned by Billy Joe Shaver’s attorney Dick DeGuerin, who hammered away at Coker’s admission to Hillcrest Hospital staff that he “drinks quite a bit of alcohol every day.”

Asked if Coker seemed drunk the night of the March 31, 2007 shooting, Peterson said “everybody I see is on drugs and alcohol,” then adjusted the total to 85% of the people he treats.

When DeGuerin tried to establish a bullet path that suggested Coker was crouched and charging Shaver when he was shot, Peterson said he wasn’t a bullet specialist. “You know about powder burns, don’t you?” DeGuerin asked, to which Peterson replied, “yeah, from ‘CSI.’”

Coker spent just a day in the hospital before being discharged.


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