No witnesses for defense, jurors set to deliberate
by Rachael Brown
Jul 01, 2013 | 6070 views |  0 comments | 233 233 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Nicholas Smith sits in the courtroom on Monday. He is on trial for the murder of Kevin Thompson. Photo by Courtney Davies
Nicholas Smith sits in the courtroom on Monday. He is on trial for the murder of Kevin Thompson. Photo by Courtney Davies
Defense attorneys declined to present any witnesses or testimony today during the capital murder trial of Nicholas Smith, one of three men accused of killing Kevin Thompson in April 2011.

Prosecutors presented their final six witnesses today on the fifth day of testimony in the case. Circuit Judge Brian Howell told jurors they will hear closing arguments Tuesday morning from Calhoun County District Attorney Brian McVeigh and Assistant DA Lynn Hammond and Smith’s defense attorneys Shaun Quinlan, Tim Burgess and Will Clay.

Howell told the jury Monday afternoon to prepare for a long day of deliberation Tuesday.

Smith, 24, is accused of stabbing Kevin Thompson to death. Thompson’s body was discovered in the early morning hours of April 23, 2011, behind a guardrail on U.S. 278 in Cherokee County. Prosecutors say Smith and two other men, Tyrone Thompson and Jovon Gaston, robbed the 29-year-old of $400 at gunpoint before they cut his throat and stabbed him multiple times in the chest.

Carl Mauterer, an evidence examiner for the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, told jurors this morning he was able to match Kevin Thompson’s DNA samples taken during an autopsy to blood found on a pair of jeans, a steak knife and a pair of Nike sneakers. The evidence Mauterer tested was collected by investigators from a house owned by Smith’s friend, Whitney Ledlow, one day before Kevin Thompson’s body was found. The knife and shoes were discovered in a garbage can outside Ledlow’s house and the jeans were found inside the home, previous testimony noted.

Mauterer told jurors that DNA tested from inside the sneaker matched Smith’s DNA profile, which was taken during an interview conducted by Anniston police officers.

Andrea Mehltretter, a forensic examiner and chemist for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, testified today that she examined several pieces of duct tape collected from Thompson’s wrist, neck and at the scene where his body was found. Mehltretter compared those pieces of duct tape to a used roll of tape found in Ledlow’s garbage can. The forensic examiner told jurors that the tape on Thompson’s body came from the same roll of discarded tape.

After prosecutors concluded their witness testimony this afternoon, Howell told McVeigh that the state had satisfied its burden of proof and the judge would deny any motions for acquittal.

Closing arguments are set to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Howell’s courtroom.

Staff Writer Rachael Brown: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RBrown_Star.

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