The couple whose tip led to an arrest in the shooting death of a Maine man five years ago both took the stand in his murder trial Wednesday, the husband saying they waited 16 months to call police about John Strawser Jr.’s possible involvement because they weren’t sure earlier and feared being sued if they were wrong.

Jamie and Courtney Breese called police on April 15, 2015, after learning from a friend that Strawser was fleeing from police after shooting his girlfriend in the driveway of her Tunnelton, West Virginia, home. Timothy “Asti” Davison, 28, of Poland, Maine was shot to death on Interstate 81 on Jan. 4, 2014, while driving back to Maine after visiting relatives for the holidays.

The Breeses told police they believed John Strawser Jr. had actually been looking for them when he came across Davison early on Jan. 4, 2014, on Interstate 81 near Greencastle. The couple were in a silver Honda Pilot similar to Davison’s silver Mitsubishi Montero and had been threatened by Strawser earlier that evening.

At first, police believed Davison’s killing might have been the result of a road rage incident, but investigators concluded that Strawser mistook Davison’s vehicle for intended victims, Jamie and Courtney Breese.

Jamie Breese testified that he hadn’t called police earlier, despite being suspicious of Strawser after hearing about Davison’s slaying, because he “wasn’t sure and didn’t want to look like an idiot.” He also feared being sued by Strawser if the allegation turned out to be false.

He acknowledged that his wife had had an affair with Strawser. Both he and his wife testified their marriage had been rocky around the time of the affair.

District Attorney Matt Fogal asked him about Cloud 9, the club he and Courtney frequented in Bunker Hill, West Virginia.

Breese said they saw Strawser there the week before the shooting. It was over two hours from Strawser’s home in Terra Alta, West Virginia, and he hadn’t told the Breeses he would be there.

Around 3:30 a.m., hours after the couple left, Strawser showed up at their home, wanting Courtney Breese to come out to talk to him. Breese said he wouldn’t let his wife go out.

On the night of the shooting, the Breeses went back to Cloud 9. After they left, Strawser kept calling and texting Courtney Breese, who became upset.

Breese said that when he took the phone from his wife, Strawser threatened to kill him.

“I didn’t feel threatened because I’ve heard him mouth off so many times,” Breese said. “I told him ‘If you’re man enough to do it, then come and do it.’ ”

Both Fogal and defense attorney George Accardi questioned Breese about the lawsuit the couple had filed against the Davison’s family seeking reward money they hadn’t received for offering the tip that led police to Strawser.

“I consulted my attorney and there is a gag order regarding the lawsuit,” Jamie said. “I will not say anything about it.”

Breese said the money wasn’t a motive for contacting police later after the reward was increased.

In the 16 months before the couple contacted police, Breese testified, he kept up with news articles about the case.

It was the death of Strawser’s girlfriend, Amy Lou Buckingham, in West Virginia that led him to believe Strawser had killed Davison, Breese said.

“I just was trying to do the right thing,” he said.

Much of Courtney Breese’s testimony matched her husband’s.

Fogal questioned her about her relationship with Strawser, a months-long affair that began after they reconnected on Facebook. The two grew up in the same small town in West Virginia.

The relationship ended after Strawser showed up at her and Jamie’s home the week before the shooting, she testified.

But Courtney Breese said she didn’t didn’t want to believe that someone she knew could be Davison’s killer.

“I didn’t think it was possible, but things I’ve learned since then made me think it might be,” she said.

She said Buckingham’s murder, for which Strawser was convicted, led her to tell police he might have killed Davison.

Davison attended Poland Regional High School and worked as a welder in Maine. His mother and step sister, who live in Maine, testified on Monday – the first day of trial that is expected to last about two weeks.

 

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