Dr. Teri Stockham told a federal jury Tuesday, that 24-year-old Seth Adams had a .13 blood alcohol concentration level, the night he was shot and killed by then-Sergeant Michael Custer, of PBSO. But attorneys for the Adams family say Dr. Stockham' may not have looked at all the facts.
Stockham was hired by Custer's defense team to testify about the effects alcohol has on human behavior.
The .13 BAC was based on blood samples taken from Seth in the hospital, more than an hour after he was shot. Attorneys say, Seth Adams left the local Loxahatchee bar called Booney's at 11:30 p.m., was shot at 11:40 p.m., arrived at St. Mary's by 12:20 a.m., and had his blood drawn at 12:50 a.m. At 2 a.m., Adams was declared dead.
Dr. Stockham testified that the amount, almost twice the legal limit, could impair one's judgment/information processing, increased self-confidence, and result in increased risk taking.
Although she did say the alcohol could "prevent you from reacting or behaving the same as if you weren't under the influence," she could not give any opinion as to Seth's behavior that night.
Attorneys for the Adams poked holes in Stockham's testimony.
Because of Seth's injuries, he lost about 4 liters of blood before it was drawn. The Adams' attorneys suggested that could have resulted in a much higher BAC reading, because of the diminished amount of blood. Seth lost about "25% blood volume."
Dr. Stockham said that probability that that could happen had not yet been studied, so she did not take it into consideration, but agreed it could be a theory.
The court also heard from Robert Brown, a former PBSO Road Patrol Operations Manager, who was working the night Seth died. He says Custer called him at 11:35 p.m. to tell Brown he was on surveillance in Loxahatchee.
Brown testified that after hanging up with Custer, a minute later, he heard the sergeant ask for backup on the radio. Brown said he called multiple units to the scene, and headed that way himself. On the way to A Road, Brown said he then heard Custer say the words "shots fired."
Brown testified that he helped make sure the scene was secure, and was told "a man who confronted Custer was shot once."
Attorneys for the Adams questioned why Brown was so quick to get to the scene. His phone call with Custer had lasted until 11:39, one minute before the shooting.
When asked if Custer had raised alarm, or said someone was pulling into the parking lot, Brown said no. He also said he did not call Custer back after hearing him call for help over the radio.
The Adams are suing Custer civilly, claiming he used excessive force when he killed their son.