Testimony resumes in gruesome murder case

October 7, 2008 7:57:31 AM PDT
After a week of dramatic and disturbing testimony, prosecutors in the Timothy Shepherd trial brought physical evidence into the courtroom. Shepherd is accused of strangling Texas A&M student Tynesha Stewart, dismembering her body and then burning the remains on a barbeque grill at his north Harris County apartment.

One by one, prosecutor Marie Primm unsealed brown paper evidence bags and put dozens of items on display for the jury. Evidence ranged from pieces of hair to cleaning supplies and all of it was taken from Timothy Shepherd's apartment.

"What is this state's exhibit," Primm asked.

"These were items that appear to be bone fragments that were found in the drain of the kitchen," replied Deputy Gary Clayton.

Clayton said he also collected a light switch plate that appeared to have blood on it, as well as a cell phone with a Texas A&M cover. The deputy also said hair and other particles were collected among charred evidence on and near the patio of Shepherd's apartment. That included a book entitled 'How to Grill.'

The sheriff has said Shepherd killed, dismembered and then burned parts of Stewart's body.

Under cross examination, defense attorney Chip Lewis got the investigator to admit a key point.

"The investigator was honest enough to admit none of the evidence he had seized or tested led to a conclusion there were charred remains of a human being," Lewis said.

Lewis says despite the mountain on evidence now sitting in front of the jury, the circumstantial case does not meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

"Most of my focus in the cross examination of state witnesses has been to establish there is no proof that Timothy Shepherd is guilty of murder," Lewis said.

Lewis insists the suggestion his client committed the gruesome acts he is accused has not been proven.

"I think the obvious implication is we don't convict folks on possibilities here," Lewis said.

Shepherd could face life in prison if convicted.

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