GREEN RIVER — Bradley Setzer’s trial for attempted first-degree murder will resume Monday morning in Sweetwater County District Court.
Setzer, 40, of Green River was charged with attempted first-degree murder and interference with a peace officer after he allegedly shot at his wife through glass in the front door of their home and refused to comply with police officers on Aug. 25, 2019.
Jury selection was conducted Tuesday. Following opening statements Wednesday morning, the trial continued through Friday afternoon with the prosecution presenting its case first, followed by the defense. The trial will resume Monday at 9 a.m.
During the trial, the court is following the COVID-19 Jury Trial Operating Plan adopted by Sweetwater County District Court judges and approved by the State of Wyoming and public health officials. Procedures include social distancing, health screenings, face coverings, increased ventilation and additional sanitation measures. The public is able to watch via Microsoft Teams.
Chief Deputy County Attorney Teresa Thybo provided opening statements for the prosecution. She said Jessica and Bradley Setzer were married in 2014, and that in the beginning, the marriage seemed good. Then, the marriage deteriorated due to Jessica’s meth use and Bradley’s drinking. By 2019, Jessica was in and out of the house because of fights between the two.
Thybo told the jury that they would hear distasteful things about Jessica. She started using meth when she was 13 years old and continues to struggle with addiction. She had used meth on Aug. 25, 2019. Jessica can also be “feisty,” especially if provoked, Thybo said.
“It may actually appear that Jessica is the one on trial here, but she is not; the defendant is,” Thybo said.
There were a lot of bad marriage days leading up to the final day, according to Thybo. She said the trial is about what happened during five minutes on Aug. 25, 2019. In that time, the defendant tried to shoot his wife Jessica in the face, Thybo said.
It is the day that the defendant picked a fight with his wife after going to church with her during what seemed to be a good weekend, Thybo said. Jessica had gone to her mother’s house after eating lunch with Bradley but had left her phone behind. She was communicating with him using her mother’s phone.
After sensing that he was upset, Jessica went home. When she got there, Bradley was sweeping the floor and told her what a lousy wife she was. They started to fight. It escalated and became physical, and then Jessica left again, Thybo said. Jessica stands about 5’4” and the defendant is a big man who is 6 feet tall, Thybo said.
Jessica returned to her home later in the day and found the door locked and the keypad disabled. She was angry and wanted in, pounding on the door with her fist and kicking it, according to Thybo. Her husband was inside telling her to go away. Thybo said the defendant held up his fingers and aimed at Jessica. She continued to yell at him through the door.
Determined not to leave without her stuff, Jessica stayed outside the door. She heard metal hitting glass, Thybo said. She was looking through the 5-inch oval of glass in the door at the barrel of a 9 mm handgun, Thybo said. She told him to go ahead and shoot, and he shot at her face, according to Thybo. If she hadn’t moved before he shot, Jessica wouldn’t be here today to tell her story, Thybo said.
Jessica thought she had been shot and went to a neighbor’s house for help. Bradley put the gun away, got in his truck and drove off. Officers found him driving around town and pulled him over. It took four officers to get the defendant out of his truck and eventually handcuff him, according to Thybo. He ignored officers’ commands and continued to resist them, she said.
“After seeing and hearing all of the evidence, we are confident that you will find that the defendant, Bradley Harvey Setzer, shot at his wife’s face in an attempt to kill her on their front step,” Thybo said.
She also said testimony from officers would show that he resisted arrest.
In his opening statements, defense attorney Jerry Bosch said that “headlines don’t convict.” Bradley repeatedly told Jessica to leave on Aug. 25, 2019, and each time she heard it, she became more angry and kept coming, Bosch said.
“She will say she was going to break down that door just like she had done several time before,” Bosch said. “She was going to continue what had started earlier that day.”
The moment in time on Aug. 25 reflects several years of a relationship. Bosch went over previous incidents when Jessica broke the front door during fights and took things of the walls.
The defense attorney made a distinction between Jessica Setzer, who he said is a very nice person, and the way she was acting on Aug. 25, 2019.
“Jess Setzer, high on meth, is a completely different person,” Bosch said. “If she was using, she had a short fuse,” he said.
“Fights would start over anything, and she gives as good as she takes,” he said.
Physical combat was mutual, with Bradley trying to diffuse the situation and often locking doors to close her out, according to Bosch. It became a pattern, and Jessica knew her husband would always beg her to come back. A couple weeks before Aug. 25, Bradley sent Jessica a letter saying he was not going to give up on her.
During the Aug. 25, 2019, incident, Bradley was trying to keep the door from being kicked in, Bosch said. “This is Jess Setzer, not Jessica, admittedly high on meth,” Bosch said.
Videos from the doorbell camera will reveal her language and her tone. She wasn’t trying to retrieve anything, Bosch said.
Bosch said when Jessica saw the gun that Bradley had on the other side of the door, she didn’t leave or walk away. She started yelling profanities and calling him a coward. “She just keeps coming,” Bosch said.
She has said that she doesn’t believe her husband was trying to shoot her, Bosch said.
He added that she’s said, “If he wanted me dead, I would be dead.”
There’s not going to be any evidence about any plan Brad Setzer had to shoot his wife, Bosch said. Brad Setzer told her repeatedly to go away.
“When you’re in that moment and you pull a gun, and they don’t get the message, and they keep coming, keep coming,” Bosch said. “So he shot; not at her. She was right there.”
Some of the evidence will show he shot away from her, according to Bosch. The facts aren’t going to line up with her dodging a bullet, he said.