Testimony Ends

Closing arguments in the murder trial of Chris Sturm begin Friday morning. Thursday, prosecutors wrapped up their case and the defense called just one witness before testimony ended Thursday afternoon.

First thing Thursday morning, the jury heard the interview sheriff's deputies conducted with Sturm the night of the shootings. Then, it was the investigators who had to answer questions on the witness stand.

While admitting he had never questioned a minor before, a Washington County sheriff's deputy said he used normal interviewing procedures in questioning Chris Sturm.

"He stated it was really, really wrong what he did," said Det. Mark Warden, when asked if Sturm showed any emotion. "What you don't see on the tape is his eyes. He felt bad about what he did."

Another detective, Clark Johnson, says Frank Russell wasn't considered more than a "person of interest" in the case. Russell, the longtime companion of victim Nancy Tidd, said Wednesday he didn't know until January that Tidd had a $50,000 life insurance policy.

Johnson also testified a set of screwdrivers was found in the cabinet storing the gun believed used in the shootings.

"(Sturm) says he went to the cabinet and unscrewed the hinges to gain access to the weapon," Warden testified earlier.

"Did he say he had permission from grandma to use the weapon?," asked assistant Washington County prosecutor Kevin Rings.

Warden replied, "Yes."

The specialist who did the autopsies on Nancy and Emma Tidd said it could not be determined when they were shot, but that it happened quickly and closely.

"I'd say either touching or no further than an inch away," said Dr. Russell Uptegrove of the Montgomery County Coroner's Office. "I'd say it was right up against the skin."

The only witness called by defense attorney Ray Smith was a deputy who was asked to obtain records of phone conversations the night of the shooting.

Dep. Brian Kapple could not obtain a record of a conversation between Russell and victim Nancy Tidd late in the afternoon of the day she was killed, but a co-worker of Russell said he remembers answering the phone when Tidd called, the last time she and Russell would have spoken.


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