Her voice quavering and barely audible, 16-year-old Danelle Domdey told a Clinton County jury Monday that she was “shocked” when gunshots were fired at her car.
The Fulton, Ill., teen, who will be a high school senior in the fall, was the driver of a Pontiac Grand Prix police say was fired upon at least three times by 20-year-old Tyler Lampe on March 11 as the vehicle sped out of Lampe’s Clinton apartment complex parking lot at 1850 Glendale Road.
The first day of an anticipated two-day trial for Lampe began Monday after defense and prosecution attorneys spent about two and a half hours selecting a jury. The state called seven witnesses before court was recessed for the day in the late afternoon.
Domdey, the first state witness to take the stand, was one of three occupants in her vehicle when she said she saw Lampe running after the car and firing a handgun. She told Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf that she had agreed that day to give a ride to her friend, Amanda Schmitz, and to a man Schmitz knew.
Domdey followed directions from the two to Lampe’s apartment complex and waited outside in the car, she testified. Just minutes later, Schmitz and her male acquaintance ran from the building with Lampe chasing them and brandishing a gun, Domdey said.
“I heard the shots,” she said. “I was ready to go ... I was really just shocked. I didn’t cry or laugh, I was just shocked.”
Domdey’s car was found March 18 parked near Fulton High School after an anonymous tipster called police. Two apparent bullet holes dotted the back of the car, and a spare tire was in place at the rear of the vehicle on the driver’s side.
Schmitz, who turned 17 in April, told the court that she and Domdey didn’t report the shooting to police because they were worried about getting into trouble themselves.
Court records indicate that the shooting may have stemmed from a marijuana deal that went sour after drugs were possibly stolen from Lampe, although Wolf did not question any of the witnesses about the drugs.
Police found drugs and numerous paraphernalia items in Lampe’s apartment following the shooting, and Domdey and Schmitz made statements to police about an arrangement on March 11 to purchase marijuana from Lampe, according to court documents.
But Wolf said after Monday’s proceedings that testimony related to the drugs is being obscured because it could unjustly prejudice the jury in Lampe’s trial since he has not been charged in connection with the drugs.
Wolf could not comment on questions related to the other occupant of Domdey’s vehicle, identified as Kenard Lewis in court records. Domdey, Schmitz and Lewis have not been charged in connection with the incident.
Lampe faces a Class C felony charge of intimidation with a dangerous weapon. If convicted, he could serve up to 10 years in prison.
Nathan Tucker, Lampe’s court-appointed attorney, contended Monday in his cross examination of state witnesses that Lewis may have also had a gun, and that Lampe may not have fired the first shot.
All but one of the handful of neighbors in and around the apartment complex who testified Monday said they did not see Lampe fire the first shot that rang out. But none of the witnesses called Monday — including Domdey and Schmitz — said they saw Lewis in possession of a weapon.
Angela Rohde, who lives on the third floor of the apartment complex, said she looked out her window immediately after hearing a first shot and saw Lampe holding a handgun with his arm extended toward the vehicle as it fled the parking lot.
Rohde added that the male occupant of Domdey’s vehicle was struggling to climb into the Pontiac as it pulled away, and that she didn’t think he could have fired at Lampe.
Anthony Tonarelli, who lives in a house near the apartment complex, was outside doing yardwork with his father at the time of the shooting, and said he saw Lampe follow Schmitz and Lewis from the complex and fire three shots at them as they ran to the Pontiac.
Court was scheduled to be back in session this morning, with the state expected to present more witnesses.