Shocking Surveillance Video Key Evidence In Criminal Case - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Shocking Surveillance Video Key Evidence In Criminal Case

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by Nick Beres

MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. - Graphic surveillance video that went viral around the world is the key piece of evidence in a criminal trial that began this week in Maury County.

"You can't find much stronger evidence than this video," said Deputy District Attorney Brent Cooper who is prosecuting the case against Eric Whitaker.

Whitaker is charged with attempted first degree murder stemming from an incident caught on surveillance video in December of 2011.

The video shows Whitaker slamming a pick-up truck into the Columbia Market on Highway 412 right on the heels of a terrified woman. The truck missed the woman, but hit a store clerk who was taken completely by surprise. Amazingly, the clerk -- who was thrown into the air -- was not seriously injured.

"Have you seen the video?" asked reporter Nick Beres while confronting the suspect in the courtroom.

"No," said Whitaker.  And when asked if he was trying to hurt someone he replied: "No comment."

But Whitaker's sister Pamela said her brother was not in his right mind when he crashed the truck into the store.

"He's got mental issues and I believe he honestly was not on his medication at the time," said the sister.

Whitaker's lawyer agrees.

"He suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and poor impulse control. Things of that nature," said attorney Gary Howell, who said the attempted first degree murder charge goes too far.

Prosecutors argue that Whitaker had intent to harm or kill the woman he chased into the market with the pick-up. Whitaker also is accused of trying to escape the scene in a stolen SUV.  He crashed that vehicle into a delivery truck and was arrested.  It all was caught on video.

The clerk who was hit by the truck suffered an injury to his back, but he's up and walking and will testify for the prosecution. The trial is expected to last until the end of the week.

Email: nberes@newschannel5.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/NC5NickBeres
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