More testimony in gruesome murder trial

October 8, 2008 2:53:01 AM PDT
Court is back in session in the murder trial of Timothy Shepherd. He's accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, dismembering her body and then burning the remains. A DNA expert took the stand Tuesday morning and told the jury a blood sample taken from Shepherd's apartment in all liklihood belonged to the victim Tynesha Stewart.

The medical examiner's anthropologist also testified that she cannot determine whether bones found were human or non-human. And under questioning by defense, she said cut marks on bones collected from drain and garbage disposal could have been caused by a large butcher knife.

Gale Shields, Stewart's mother, told jurors about the frantic search for her ambitious 19-year-old daughter, then an engineering student. She looked at clinics, tried unsuccessfully to get law enforcement's help, but nothing.

"I knew something very, very bad had happened to her," Shields said.

She recalled for jurors how she and her husband and a deputy arrived at Shepherd's apartment. "I was crying. I was in tears. I was frustrated. I was just nervous... He (Shepherd) would not look at me," she said.

She got off the stand, tears dripping down her cheeks, her face down. Then as she got near the seating area in courtroom, she reached out her hand toward someone from the DA's office and sobbed harder as she walked out.

Shepherd is accused of murdering Stewart in March of last year while she was home from spring break. She went missing and after a long search, only tiny pieces of her body were found in Shepherd's apartment, according to prosecutors.

Throughout the trial, they have suggested that Shepherd dismembered and burned Stewart's body after killing her. But his lawyer insists there is no evidence that proves murder.

Shepherd could face life in prison if convicted.

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