First day of trial for accused FWC officer shooter wraps up

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The first day of the trial for the alleged shooter of a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer ended Tuesday evening.

Tuesday morning's trial for Samuel Reager began with opening statements from Larry Basford, the Chief Assistant State Attorney, and Edward Bilinkas, Reager's lawyer.

The morning then transitioned to the first witness testimony from Officer David Brady, who was shot in the incident.

Officer Brady provided his account of that August day in 2015, saying Reager pulled a gun on him and fired it when Officer Brady jumped overboard from the sailboat they were on.

Brady claimed when he was in the water after he was shot, Reager got into Brady's patrol boat and maneuvered the boat toward him.

The Coast Guard rescued Brady from the water. Reager and Lachlan Akins rode off in the FWC patrol boat and ditched it in the Cove area.

"As I turned around and jumped in the water, I was shot twice," Brady said during his testimony.

The defense argued it was Lachlan Akins, who was with Reager at the time, who shot Brady.

"Samuel Reager is innocent. Samuel Reager is not guilty. That is the defense," said Edward Bilinkas during his opening statement.

Tuesday's trial also included an examination of evidence including a series of computer-based images depicting two boats, the FWC patrol boat, and the sailboat, as well as people on the boats. The different diagrams show what is believed to have happened during the incident.

The diagrams showed one person firing at another, with a third person on the deck of the sailboat, as well as the FWC patrol boat making a circular motion.

The defense argued the diagrams could be misleading because of factors including the size of the renderings and showing people in specific locations.

Officer Brady said the images were the best the computer creating them could produce.

Prosecutors and Officer Brady said it was Reager who fired the gun, whereas the defense said Brady would not be able to see who fired the gun as he jumped into the water.

The trial will continue into Wednesday. Lachlan Akins is expected to testify against Reager as a witness.

Reager faces three charges, one being attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer. If convicted, he would face a life sentence.