Cop murder suspect: I didn't shoot him

April 5, 2010 4:17:19 PM PDT
Closing statements are expected to begin tomorrow in the capital murder trial of a man accused of killing a Houston police officer. Mabry Landor III defended himself Monday after jurors heard hours of gruesome testimony and the prosecution rested its case. He is charged with the capital murder of Houston Police Officer Timothy Abernethy in December 2008.

Landor told the jury he did not kill Abernethy and pointed the finger at someone else--someone, he says, he doesn't even know.

Landor also told the jury he took off because he was on parole and was afraid he might be going back to jail. He testified he heard gunshots as he was running through the apartment complex, where officer Abernethy was shot.

He told the jury the sound of gunfire startled him, and his gun, he claims, accidentally discharged after he fell. He said he was unaware that an officer had been shot.

In a videotape of a police interview, Landor admitted to being involved and could be seen crying. He told investigators he'd been fighting with his girlfriend and wanted to kill himself. Today, Landor told the jury he only admitted to shooting the officer because he felt threatened by the nearly dozen officers he claims were standing outside the interrogation room.

Landor, who was on parole, testified that after the shooting, he went home and shaved his head because he was nervous and feared that investigators would come to question him.

Earlier Monday, Abernethy's widow, Stephanie Abernethy, took the stand and told the jury about the day Houston police officers came to her house to take her to the hospital after her husband had been shot.

"I tried to ask questions. No one would answer my questions," she said.

Doctors at Memorial Hermann Hospital later told Abernethy that her husband had died, she testified. Mrs. Abernethy's testimony capped off the state's case against Landor.

Before she took testified, jurors were shown Officer Abernethy's autopsy photographs. Dr. Mitchell, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy, gave a detailed description of Officer Abernethy's wounds and said that he believed Abernethy was shot in the head at close range.

"By looking at his wound, it looks like a contact gunshot wound to the head," said Dr. Mitchell. "It means the end of the gun is in contact with the scalp."

Testimony in the morning centered primarily on the events leading up to the killing of Officer Abernethy. The Houston police officer who analyzed Landor's phone records the morning of the shooting testified that Landor called his girlfriend incessantly the morning of December 7, 2008.

The officer told the jury that Landor had been involved in a domestic disturbance with his girlfriend. She was at the apartment complex where Abernethy was later killed. She apparently had called police twice that morning.

"From 12:05am to 8:44am, there were 178 phone call," said the investigator who testified about Landor's phone records.

That same officer was also able to place Landor at the crime scene before the shooting actually took place.

Landor is accused of shooting and killing Abernethy during a foot chase following a routine traffic stop at an apartment complex in northwest Houston.

If convicted of capital murder, Landor could face the death penalty.

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