Sunday, November 05, 2000

Trooper speaks out after Gall's conviction overturned

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Retired officer Gary S. Carey describes how he was spun around when he was shot in the chest 22 years ago by Eugene Gall. He is standing on Ky. 491 in Grant County near the spot where he was shot.
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        DRY RIDGE — Gary S. Carey was a 27-year-old state trooper on routine patrol, enjoying the job he always wanted and looking forward to celebrating his eighth wedding anniversary. But that day, April 15, 1978, it all changed.

        In a matter of seconds, now notorious killer and child rapist Eugene W. Gall Jr. would shoot and nearly kill him.

        Though Mr. Gall was subsequently tried, convicted and sentenced to death, an appeals court panel last week overturned his murder conviction, making it possible for Mr. Gall to be released from Kentucky's death row to a mental institution.

        The appellate panel said the courts had not properly considered his mental condition. Mr. Gall has been on Kentucky's death row longer than any other prisoner.

        That court's decision has brought back painful emotions for Mr. Carey, at 49, a retired trooper and grandfather. He returned Friday to the place he was shot to describe the shooting and how it still affects him, more mentally than physically.

        “Of course I hurt every day ... I have pains,” he said.

        “It is just something you don't forget. It is always on your mind. A lot of nights you have dreams about it. Then you see articles in the paper and it reminds you of it.”

        Mr. Carey remembers that he was parked along the edge of the two-lane Ky. 491 in Grant County, chatting with a passing motorist in a pickup when a car, driven by Eugene W. Gall Jr., pulled up behind his patrol car.

        Mr. Gall braked and fired his .357 Magnum out his window, shooting Mr. Carey once in the chest. By then, Mr. Carey had drawn his own gun but the force of the bullet spun him around and he dropped it.

        Mr. Gall stepped out of the car and shot again, hitting Mr. Carey in the chest and knocking him into a ditch. He shot twice more but missed.

        Then another trooper pursuing Mr. Gall pulled up, fired at Mr. Gall, but missed. Mr. Gall dived onto the floorboard and reloaded to return fire.

        Then Mr. Gall sped off, leading police on a 50 mph chase, before they were able to ram his vehicle.

        Police had been pursuing Mr. Gall at the time because he was suspected of a robbery earlier that day. They didn't know that an hour before the robbery, Mr. Gall had disposed of the body of 12-year-old Lisa Jansen, whom he had abducted while she walked home from school in Colerain Township, before raping and killing her.

        Later, at the hospital, Mr. Carey's family was told he might not survive.

        One bullet had traveled through his chest out his back, but the other had to removed from his left lung. Pieces of the bullet and of an ink pen it had driven into his body remain in his lung today.

        “I was only 7,” recalled

        Cheri Carey-Fulton, one of his two daughters. “We were told to start planning his funeral.”

        But he survived and within a year he returned to his job as a state trooper.

        Ms. Fulton says her father and family were never the same.

        She said the ordeal “tore my family apart.

        “The public needs to know what (Mr. Gall) did to my family.”

        Ms. Fulton says her parents' marriage eventually ended and she and her sister continued to live with her mother. Ms. Fulton, who is now a mother, says it took years to heal the emotional wounds and traumatized relations in the family.

        Now, the courts have changed things, she said.

        After police recovered Lisa's body, Mr. Gall was tried and found guilty in 1978. He was sentenced to death for the rape and murder and 10 years for the attempted murder of the trooper.

        The news that an appeals court had overturned the conviction drove Mr. Carey, who retired a year ago from the state police, to speak out.

        “It is really sad that you have all these bleeding hearts out there that feel sorry for him for being on death row,” he said.

        “What about all his victims? How do they feel about them?”

        With his head tilted to one side, he continued to speak quietly.

        “I have no sympathy for him. I have nothing but disgust for him. I would love to be the man to pull the switch when they put him in the electric chair.”

        Mr. Carey said he feels sorry for the Jansen family and plans to contact Lisa Jansen's mother.

        “She hasn't had a chance to live her life. She hasn't had a chance to give her mother or father any grandchildren. She hasn't had a chance to go through high school, college. That was all stripped away.”

        The Kentucky attorney general's office may appeal to the full appellate court or to the U.S. Supreme Court. Until then, Mr. Gall will remain on death row.

        “You trust the justice system will do the right thing,” Mr. Carey said.

        “That is why I hope the Attorney General will continue with the appeals to keep this sadistic, mean (SOB) from ever walking the earth again.

        “It is not so much for me, it's for my granddaughters.”


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