DNA expert takes the stand in triple murder trial - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

DNA expert takes the stand in triple murder trial

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A DNA analyst took the stand in the trial of a man police said killed three people in Mecklenburg County.

Justin Hurd is accused of killing  Kevin Young, Kinshasa Wagstaff and Jasmine Hines in 2008. Detectives said Hurd and another man tried to cover up the triple murder by burning down the home where the victims lived.

On Monday a jailhouse snitch testified Hurd confessed. Justin Hurd has been in jail since 2009 when he was arrested in Ohio and accused of the triple murder In North Carolina. Two jailhouse mates testified. The second one was still on the stand Tuesday as defense lawyers attacked his credibility.

"You started out your interaction with Mr. Hurd by saying I'm facing life in jail but nonetheless he picked you as a confident," asked defense lawyer Alan Bowman of Louis Misenheimer.

"No we started out playing basketball together," said Misenheimer.

Misenheimer also said that he was hoping to have his sentence reduced in connection with his testimony that Hurd told him he was involved in the killings.

Prosecutors transitioned the focus back to hard evidence and prepared to introduce DNA collected by the lead investigator, detective Phillip Rainwater, who went to Ohio and described to the jury the man he met.

"The second subject from the left side at that table wearing black jacket, striped silver black tie, white shirt, beard, glasses," said Rainwater pointing at Justin Hurd.

For a long time the defense and prosecution argued about whether Rainwater could tell the jury Nate Sanders, the man prosecutors said worked with Hurd to kill the three people, was dead and was murdered.  Defense lawyers said if the information is openly shared they want the jury to be aware another man is accused of the killing and indicted.

Detective Rainwater did reveal new evidence including handcuffs found around Kevin Young's wrists, clothing scraps found on Kinshasa Wagstaff and Justin Hurd's sneakers mailed by Misty Jones, Hurd's kids' mom. All of these items were reviewed by a lab.

The arguments delayed much of Sheree Enfinger's, the DNA expert, testimony about what was found in that lab.

"I found a mixture on the swabs from the steering wheel," said Enfinger.

Last week in opening statements, prosecutors said Hurd's DNA was found on the steering wheel of the car found next to Jasmine Hines body.  But the DNA analyst with CMPD did not say that Tuesday.

Family and friends of the victims were in the courtroom.  The back and forth in this triple murder trial was more technical and less emotional. We'll hear more from the DNA expert Wednesday.