John was convicted in Casper, Wyoming of second degree murder and sentenced to prison for fifty (50) years on May 19, 2015 . John had been visiting Wyoming on a family hunting trip and went to Casper to watch sports and have a few drinks. He was at RACKS strip club for several hours,
John left RACKS at 10:30 pm on October 3, 2013 and sat in his 2008 Chevy Cobalt waiting out a snow storm. At 12:15 am Kade Baldwin suddenly started beating on his passenger side window, then moved to the driver's side.
It was theorized that Mr. Baldwin had confused John's car with that of his brother. Mr. Baldwin had driven his brother's car to RACKS to celebrate his birthday. There had been no significant interactions between John and Mr. Baldwin and they did not know each ther.
The key factual issue at trial was whether John fired one round from his 1911 Army .45 THROUGH the driver's side window when he could have simply driven away in safety, or whether Mr. Baldwin broke the window from the outside in a fit of rage and was struggling for control of the firearm. If the later were true, then Mr. Baldwin was shot and killed in self-defense as a matter of law.
The State retained an expert before trial who recommended re-enactments to assist in this determination. Inexplicably, the State declined to perform such testing, did not call their own retained expert, and relied solely on the opinion of a Wyoming Crime Lab technician who did not conduct any testing similar the facts of the actual shooting. John's conviction was affirmed on direct appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court on January 5, 2016.
John's new defense team conducted post conviction forensic re-enactments to test BOTH theories by shooting through the side window from the inside/out and breaking the window from the outside/in with blunt force. The results of these tests were compared to the actual crime scene evidence.
These defense re-enactments establish beyond any doubt that the window was broken by the deceased and not shot out by John as theorized by the State as a matter of scientific fact. There was lead/GSR "bullet wipe" on entrance hole of the deceased's T-shirt. Such bullet wipe can only be present if the bullet did NOT pass through an intact window.
In addition, a bullet fired from the inside/out through tempered window glass creates long narrow glass shards radiating around the point of impact. Blunt force from the outside/in creates small cubes of glass shards. All of the glass at the crime scene and in the vehicle were small cubes. There were no long narrow shards anywhere.
John Knospler Jr. joined the Marines in 2000. His first assignment was with the 3rd Marine Regiment where he served as an accounting clerk. Following the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01, John was accepted for training as a Recon Marine. In December of 2002, he was assigned to the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. In the summer of 2003 John was deployed to Iraq. After return to the US, John volunteered for a 2nd deployment to Fallujah, Iraq, He re-enlisted in 2004.
Upon returning to the US, John was assigned to the 1st Force Reconnaissance Company and served briefly in the Middle East to train Iraqi Special Forces. When he returned from this deployment, he was assigned to the new Marine Corps Special Operations Command. He served as a DASR instructor in MARSOC's special missions' training branch. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in October 2008.
John subsequently worked as a "movement control specialist" and conducted multiple training and reconnaissance missions, primarily in the Congo, Sudan, and Somalia till June 2012. John was injured in the Congo in December 2011 and has a plate in his right arm. John has worked as project manager for a private contractor providing personnel for training exercises.
A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE FALSE AND MISLEADING EVIDENCE FROM THE STATE
The State argued and presented testimony that tempered auto glass would react "counter-intuitively" and be distributed inside the driver's compartment from an inside/out shot. This theory was essential to match the glass found in Chevy Cobalt as shown in the following photo taken 15 minutes after the shooting.
In contrast to the State's theory, the defense postconviction re-enactment using blunt force to the outside of the window established that the glass would react consistent with Newton's laws of physics and be driven INWARD and distributed on the dash EXACTLY as shown by the glass shards in the John's Chevy Cobalt.
In contrast to the State's "counter intuitive" theory, EVERY defense postconviction re-enactment where a .45 was shot thru the Chevy Cobalt's tempered auto window conclusively showed that the glass would react consistent with Newton's laws of physics and be driven OUTWARD and then drop under the influence of gravity. All 10 defense shoots had the same results. There was never ANY glass shards distributed on the dash or speedometer tunnel. The following two videos are representative of of all shootings. Please note the plumb of glass from the point of impact and the shapes of the fractured shards projected away from the vehicle.
The State claimed and presented expert testimony that the small cubes of glass recovered from the RACKS' parking lot and on the dash, console, and floor of the John's Chevy Cobalt were consistent with a shot being fired from the inside/out through the window proving John's guilt.
The defense found that in EVERY case when a bullet was fired through the Cobalt tempered glass window from the inside out, there were LONG NARROW GLASS SHARDS created that radiated around the point of bullet impact. NONE of these distinctive shards were in the glass collected from the RACKS' crime scene or found in John's vehicle.
It was undisputed that there was lead/GSR "bullet wipe" on Mr. Baldwin's T-shirt around a clean circular hole and round/oval entrance wound as shown below. However, the State argued and presented testimony that this "bullet wipe" could easily be present AFTER passing through a tempered glass window. This testimony was presented without ANY experiment or re-enactment by the State.
Clear bullet wipe and
clean entrance hole
in Mr. Baldwin's T-shirt
The defense conducted postconviction re-enactments where bullets were captured AFTER passing through tempered auto glass under the State's theory. In EVERY case there was NO BULLET WIPE on the T-shirt. In EVERY case the bullet was deformed and created a raged entry hole in the T-shirt. When the T-shirt target was at 21" or less, there was consistent evidence of additional glass projectiles hitting and damaging the T-short. This new irrefutable scientific evidence conclusively refutes the State's theory that John shot through a closed window from a place of safety.
The WY Crime Lab performed a series of shoots from 12" to 24" WITHOUT an intervening glass window. In EVERY State test, there was a clean entrance hole and circle of lead/GSR bullet wipe. However, the State elicited testimony from the State's expert witness that "very easily" and "very well could be" that bullet wipe would be present AFTER passing through tempered glass.
The defense conducted five postconviction shoots through tempered auto glass into T-shirt targets and NEVER found ANY lead/GSR bullet wipe on the T-shirt. However, in EVERY defense re-enactment shootings where a .45 was fired into a T-shirt WITHOUT intervening tempered auto glass, there was ALWAYS visible bullet wipe. The existence of bullet wipe as present on Mr. Baldwin's T-shirt found at the autopsy and testing at the WY Crime Laboratory is CONCLUSIVE forensic evidence that the window was NOT present at the time of the shot. The ONLY conclusion is that Mr. Baldwin broke the window and confirms that John acted in self-defense.
Clear bullet wipe and
clean entrance hole
in WY Crime Lab shoot without glass.
Clear bullet wipe and clean entrance hole
in ALL defense shoots without glass. These two are merely representative.