Vance trial, day 3 UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Vance trial, day 3 UPDATE



UPDATE: Opening statements got underway at about 2:05 p.m.  Prosecuting attorney Larry Jegley began by giving a very detailed description of the horrific nature of the crime, describing the crime scene.  He said an emergency room physician would later testify to the extent of Pressly's injuries.  Jegley said the first doctor to see Pressly initially thought she was a redhead (she was blonde), and that her face had been very badly beaten. The prosecution also told the jury they would hear from a medical examiner who would testify Pressly was struck 13 hard blows, and died from craniocerebral trauma.

The defense said they would build their case on reasonable doubt, that there was too much pressure on the Little Rock Police Department to arrest a suspect in the case and advised the jury to pay close attention to DNA evidence in the case. 

In what was surely one of the most dramatic moments, Pressly's mother Patty Canady took the stand.  She described finding her daughter the morning after her attack.  Canady testified that she went in to Anne's house after a wake-up call to her daughter went unanswered.  The worried mother walked through the house calling Anne's name and found her lying in the fetal position on top of her bed.  "It was horrific," Canady said.  "I could not take the scene in.  She had a slice down the left side of her neck.  I thought someone must have slit her throat.  She was moaning and struggling to survive."

Canady said that once police and rescue crews arrived on the scene she stood by the bedstand praying.  "I was praying and I remember looking up at the ceiling fan and I remember there was blood on the fan," she said.  "That's how horrific the attack was." 

--Gerard Matthews

Read earlier coverage on the jump.  

The jury has now been seated. Opening statements will begin at 2 p.m. today and continue until 5:30 or 6:00. While the courtroom was mostly empty yesterday except for reporters, today many of Pressly's friends and KATV colleagues have come to show their support. Judge Chris Piazza urged the audience, "Keep [your emotions] close to your vest and maintain your dignity." He also said the doors will be locked promptly to keep people from going in and out of the courtroom. Piazza reminded the news media that the jury was sequestered and should not be engaged by reporters. David Koon will be back with more at the end of today's proceedings.

In the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette this morning, the issue of race was brought up briefly, but the race of the jurors was not disclosed. The jurors include six white males, four black females and two white females. The alternate jurors are made up of one white male and one white female. Not exactly a jury of peers. Yesterday, Vance's attorney Katherine Streett asked the jury, "Do you believe a black defendant, particularly with a white victim, can get a fair trial in Pulaski County?" Well, what do you think?


The seated jury in the Curtis Vance trial was back down to 10 this morning after a man selected yesterday told lawyers that his Catholic faith would not allow him to vote for the death penalty. Prosecutor Larry Jegley and Vance's defense attorney Katherine Streett questioned the juror if there was any scenario in which he could agree to a death sentence. He hedged a bit, but then said no. Judge Chris Piazza dismissed him.

Piazza had hoped to begin hearing opening statements this morning, but two more jurors and two alternates need to be selected. Of the nine potential jurors being questioned this morning, three, all black women, said they could not impose the death penalty and were excused.

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