MAYVILLE – The jury in Jason Wells’ murder trial heard more testimony about his unusual behavior Friday as the defense began presenting its case.
Wells, 37, has been charged with second-degree murder in the brutal slaying of his 81-year-old Fredonia neighbor, Ruth Fisk, in February 2010.
Defense attorney Lyle Hajdu called several witnesses who described how they felt uncomfortable after encountering Wells shortly before the murder.
Women working in a Fredonia hair salon told the jury about an incident in which they called the police after Wells entered their salon just before closing Feb. 3, only hours before he killed Fisk in his apartment.
Jennifer Mackowiak, a hair stylist, said he wanted his hair “laundered,” and she thought he meant washed.
She said Wells used profanity and would not leave when she told him they were closed and he should return in the morning.
“We live in a small town where things like this don’t happen,” she said.
She described Wells as “creepy” and said that he told her, “You women remind me of my wife.”
Two other co-workers told the jury about their encounter with Wells. All three said they felt threatened when Wells would not leave their shop.
Two former Fredonia State College students also testified. Kyleigh Tarnowski said that Wells knocked on the door of their apartment and wanted to come in. They said they did not know him but he introduced himself as “Jay.”
“I felt very uncomfortable,” Tarnowski said. “I could tell he was not a good person.”
Her roommate called the Fredonia Police Department and reported the incident. Both women were asked to supply written statements to police. They said they recognized Wells from television and newspaper reports.
Hajdu said he had scheduling issues with other witnesses but will resume calling witnesses Tuesday, when the trial will continue. He has already told the courtroom that he will call mental health professionals to testify about Wells’ state of mind at the time of the crime.
He told the jury in his opening statement that he will seek an “insanity defense” or a reduction in the charges due to extreme emotional disturbance.
Wells was writing on a pad of paper in the courtroom during Friday’s testimony. He appeared agitated as the young women talked about meeting him in February 2010.
Chautauqua County Judge John T. Ward is presiding over the trial.