Sticking with his "attempted suicide by cop" defense, David Charles Kling told his York County jury Tuesday his goal in a December 2006 standoff with state police was "to get them to kill me."
Kling, 41, of Airville, is charged with multiple counts of attempted homicide and aggravated assault. In the early morning of Dec. 17, 2006, he allegedly tried to set fire to the mobile home where his ex-girlfriend and her mother had locked themselves in, used his pickup to chase troopers who were on foot and in patrol cars, and pointed a shotgun at police.
But the strategy allowed First Deputy Prosecutor Jeffrey Boyles to call Kling's ex-wife to the stand. Near tears, Kathleen Elizabeth Holmes told the jury that, in 1995, Kling put a shotgun to her head, poured gasoline around her feet and threatened to kill her during a standoff with Harford County, Md., sheriff's deputies.
Assistant public defender James Rader argued strongly against allowing Holmes to testify to the 13-year-old crime.
Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas H. Kelley said her testimony was admissible because the defense had "raised the specter of intent." Rader's cross-examination of witnesses has been geared toward establishing that Kling wanted the troopers to kill him.
That nearly happened in Maryland when the standoff ended with a sharpshooter shooting Kling through the face. He was hospitalized for 25 days, he said.
The jury was not informed that Kling pleaded guilty in Maryland to assault with the intent to murder and served two years in prison. Kelley limited Holmes' testimony to the fact that Kling admitted "to others" that he had intended to kill her.
Testifying in his own defense Tuesday, Kling said he spent the hours before troopers were called to Mitchell Road in Airville drinking and playing pool. He said he had not taken medication for his bipolar disorder in two weeks.
He said he was "numb" after his girlfriend, Cynthia Testerman, asked him to move out, and he was angry when she did not return home by 3:30 a.m.
After receiving threatening and harassing phone messages from Kling, Testerman called police. Before they arrived, Kling twice got gas cans and approached the mobile home where Testerman and her mother were. His father, summoned by Testerman, stopped him both times.
Tuesday, Kling said he was not going to burn the trailer.
"I was trying to pour it on myself," he said. "I said, 'I hope you're happy. You can watch me burn.'"
Troopers were able to end the standoff after firing shots into Kling's pickup. He was not injured and surrendered after talking to troopers for an hour.