The Knox man who claims he was kidnapped from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center last June by a murder suspect was the first witness to testify in his trial. Gary Chavez is also on trial for kidnapping and carjacking stemming from a June 6, 2014 incident. He’s accused of stabbing his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez, to death at his rural California Township home, driving to Mark Bailey’s and kidnapping employee Bryant Wagner at gunpoint as he sat in his 2005 Monte Carlo in the store parking lot.
Wagner told the jury he was in shock when he saw the man he later learned was Gary Chavez pointing a gun at him and said he obeyed his command to get into the passenger seat of his car. He says Chavez kept the gun trained on him with his left hand, drove north toward Toto with his right and proceeded to explain he had killed his wife and was on the run.
“It was like he was venting about his actions. Not really at me, just trying to get it out,” Bryant said. He described Chavez and hyper and a little bit distraught and said his mood ranged from calm to panicked.
He added Chavez asked him for food,water and a cell phone and ordered Bryant to make calls for him while he drove. One was to a man whose wife testified her husband and Chavez were longtime friends and coworkers. Cheryl Starkey testified Chavez told her he stabbed Kimberly. She noted the connection on the cell phone was poor and said their conversation only lasted between 45 and 90 seconds before he hung up on her.
Bryant also testified Chavez said he was going to Valparaiso to kill Kimberly’s son, Chris. The low fuel light in Bryant’s car came on in Toto. Bryant testified Chavez drove to English Lake in search of another vehicle to steal and commandeered a Jeep Grand Cherokee at gunpoint from a couple there.