Former The Strolling Lifeless co-star Austin Amelio was on the small balcony filming a TWD Season eight scene with stuntman John Bernecker in 2017 when Bernecker fell over, lacking the protecting pads beneath by two ft and touchdown on the concrete head-first. He died two days later from the extreme head accidents.
“I noticed the entire thing, I used to be in full and utter shock,” Amelio informed the jury Friday in emotional testimony on the wrongful loss of life trial of The Strolling Lifeless stuntman. “It was the worst day of my life.”
Throughout the opening week of the trial in Gwinnett County, GA, attorneys for the plaintiff, Bernecker’s mother Susan, tried to persuade the jury Bernecker’s loss of life was preventable and the results of negligence on the a part of the manufacturing. AMC’s authorized group argued Bernecker’s loss of life stemmed from human error on the stuntman’s half, saying he grasped the rail and held on throughout his flip off the balcony, which modified his anticipated trajectory.
‘Strolling Lifeless’ Stuntman ‘Made A Mistake,’ AMC Says As Wrongful Demise Trial Begins
That greedy motion grew to become a focus within the line of questioning amongst a number of witnesses. It was revealed that holding the railing was not within the episode’s script, nor in any rehearsals — the character Bernecker doubled for had simply been killed, along with his lifeless physique speculated to fall over the balcony. The very fact Bernecker went off script raised questions on whether or not Amelio — whose character, Dwight, kills the minor character for whom Bernecker was a double — touched Bernecker in the course of the scene, which may clarify the stuntman’s instinctive response to seize the railing.
“Completely not,” Amelio mentioned Friday when requested whether or not he or the butt of the prop gun he was holding had touched Bernecker within the moments earlier than Bernecker jumped.
Earlier within the testimony, Amelio, who now co-stars as Dwight on TWD offshoot collection Worry the Strolling Lifeless, recalled the security assembly on set earlier that day, by which TWD stunt coordinator Monty Simons instructed him to not contact Bernecker and to face behind him. “The one factor I bear in mind is, ‘Don’t contact him,’” Amelio mentioned of the assembly.
Griffin Freeman, a neighborhood Atlanta actor, performed the villain killed by Dwight for whom Bernecker was a stunt double. He supported Amelio’s declare that there was no touching in his testimony on Thursday. After filming his half and being switched with Bernecker, Freeman remained shut by and filmed the tragic stunt along with his telephone. He testified the video of the scene reveals clearly Bernecker beginning to transfer after Amelio’s arm had already cleared his physique, and never a steady movement that might be in step with touching.
Amelio additionally confirmed that the director of the episode requested an apple field on which Bernecker was standing to be moved so it doesn’t seem within the shot. Bernecker had agreed to that with no objections, asking in flip for the mat beneath to be shifted, which was accomplished.
The actor praised Simons’ work on the present. “I feel Monty is a wonderful stunt coordinator,” he mentioned.
Simons, different members of the TWD stunt group in addition to a co-executive producer and assistant director additionally took the stand this week, all arguing that Bernecker’s rail seize couldn’t have been foreseen, that the scene was not rushed, and all doable security precautions had been taken.
Consultants for the Bernecker’s household countered that his loss of life was preventable, that the catcher system used within the stunt was insufficient, and the world simply off the mat the place Bernecker hit the bottom ought to’ve been secured with correct padding. Stunt professionals and mates of Bernecker testified he was nice at his job and shouldn’t be blamed for the incident. Bernecker’s mother and father additionally took the stand, talking fondly of their son, his childhood, his hobbies and his ardour for his job.
The plaintiff laid their case first. Amelio was a part of the protection’s witnesses, with extra slated for Monday. Closing arguments are anticipated to happen Tuesday or Wednesday subsequent week.