Vance trial, day 4 UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Vance trial, day 4 UPDATE

Posted By on Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 11:50 AM

From David Koon: The murder trial of Curtis Vance in the slaying of KATV news anchor Anne Pressly continued this morning with testimony by LRPD crime scene specialist Stuart Bartlett, who showed the jury grisly photographs taken at Pressly's home Oct. 20, 2008, the day of the slaying. Bartlett was one of three in the crime scene search unit that gathered evidence, including prints and hair samples, at the house.

Vance's defense team, on cross examination, asked Bartlett about the method used in gathering fingerprints at the house.

Testimony didn't begin until 10:15 a.m. because one juror had trouble finding a parking place near the courthouse (there's a teacher curriculum meeting going on).

Circuit Judge Chris Piazza admonished the jury to get in earlier "because it's going to take us until Christmas [to hear the case] if we don't get started on time."


Former Marianna teacher Kristin Edwards took the stand to testify about her April 21, 2008, rape. (Evidence in that case led to Vance's arrest.)

Edwards said she had just gotten out of the shower that Monday morning before school and was walking through her living room when a man came up behind her and put his hand over her mouth. "He said 'I have a gun, don't do anything, don't look at me, or I'll kill you," she testified. Edwards said the man was angry and loud and pushed her onto her couch face down, where he raped her, saying over and over again that he would kill her is she looked at him and "I know your house."

 (Continued on jump)

After the rape, he put her purse in front of her and demanded her money. Edward said she gave him all the money in the purse -- $3 -- and he asked for her ATM card. She said she was between paydays and didn't know how much was in her account, which made her attacker even louder and angrier.

The attacker then pushed Edwards out her back door onto an enclosed back porch and locked her there. When she heard her front door slam, she ran to a neighbors home, but no one was there. She returned to her house through her front door to get her keys and saw that her phone and its charger and a DVD were gone. She then drove to the home of two fellow teachers and called police. She was transported to a Forrest City hospital, where a rape kit was taken and she was given medication.

Edwards said her car had been broken into two weeks earlier and that a GPS unit that she thought contained a house key had been stolen. Asked if her attacker ever struck her, she said no. At that point, deputy prosecutor John Johnson rose to ask Edwards why she thought that was. She answered that it was because she was "100 percent compliant." If she hadn't been, she said, "I would be dead."

Taking the stand just before Edwards was Stan Wilhite, like Bartlett a member of the LRPD Crime Scene Search Unit. He testified about taking prints at the Pressly home and about being called to MacArthur Park two or three days later to collect a paper bag that was believed to have bloodstains on it. He also testified that the unit processed the black Chevy Monte Carlo driven by Vance at the time, removing the seats, etc., and vacuuming for evidence.

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