Update: Injured victim testifies during in-law slaying trial - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Update: Injured victim testifies during in-law slaying trial

Posted: Updated:
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Today was the first day of testimony in the trial for Lonnie Jacob Ragan who is accused of murdering his sister in-law during a custody battle over his son in 2011.

In opening statements, the Defense claims the shooting was self defense.

Ragan is charged with two counts of murder, several counts of aggravated assault, unlawful handling of explosives, possession of explosives by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon stemming from the August 2011 murder of 28-year-old Holly Laurel Hearn.

Authorities report that Ragan went to Hearn's home at 5912 Billings Ct., demanding to know where his son was. Upon arrival, Ragan allegedly pointed a shotgun in his brother-in-law Ryan Hearn's face. That was when Holly confronted Ragan with a .38-caliber handgun.

Police say Ragan shot Holly in the chest with the shotgun at close range. Holly fell to the ground; her husband, Ryan, ran for cover, but Ragan shot him before he could get away, according to police.

Ryan was shot in the upper buttocks and hand. He says he was in the hospital for a week after the shooting, could not walk for three months, and is still in constant pain due to the injuries.

A neighbor testified that he saw Ragan stand over Ryan's injured body and attempt to shoot him again, but the gun jammed. The same neighbor also said tension had been brewing for a while within the family, and police had been called to the home several times.

Ryan testified today that Ragan had a tumultuous marriage with the victim's sister, Desiree, and the trouble spilled over into his family, ending with his wife dead. Ryan says he had just gotten off of work, and was playing with his son when he heard his wife yell at Ragan.

Ryan says Holly grabbed a family weapon they had purchased for protection when Ragan charged onto their property.

The entire incident reportedly occurred in front of the couples' children, according to Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Cooley. The 7-year-old child also testified in court today.

The Defense says Ragan only fired after Hearn approached him with a small revolver, but Hearn's best friend testified that victim never pointed the gun at Ragan.

Due to the emotion invoked by the large pictures of the victim, family crying and jurors reaction, the Defense requested a mistrial. Judge McBride denied the request.

After the original incident, Ragan took off in his truck, but later turned himself in at Harris County.

News Leader 9's Brittany Dionne will be tweeting live from inside the courtroom while court is in session. You may follow her here: https://twitter.com/BrittanyD_WTVM.

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