July 14, 2024

OTTAWA — OTTAWA – During testimony today in Franklin County District Court, Ottawa Police detective Rick Geist testified and played a video of an interview he did with the man accused of knifing Paul Nicholson to death last year. In that tape, John Balbirnie repeatedly denied stabbing Nicholson and blamed it on Brandon Ellsmore, who later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree murderand has testified against Balbirnie. At one point, Geist left the interview room, which was being videotaped. The tape shows Balbirnie talking to himself, putting his ear to a cup on the wall and trying to listen to conversations in another interview room. At one point, he yells at the wall, telling friends who he imagines to be in the next room, not to say anything. In earlier testimony, witnesses at a drunken party said Balbirnie knived Nicholson while he was trying to rescue another man being attached by Nicholson. A jury will decide if Balbirnie is guilty of first-degree murder. This afternoon’s testimony included forensic and crime scene evidence. Blood-alcohol tests indicate that at .13, Balbirnie was well beyond the limit for being legally drunk.
Wednesday, April 13, 1 p.m.; updated 3:30 p.m.

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