by Max Brantley
David Koon reports from Circuit Judge Chris Piazza's courtroom that the defense has apparently completed its case in the trial of Curtis Vance for the fatal 2008 beating of KATV's Anne Pressly.
The jury has been dismissed for the day. The attorneys are discussing jury instructions this afternoon. If the defense formally rests tomorrow morning, as expected, the case will go to the jury after closing arguments and jury instructions, perhaps tomorrow.
Vance didn't testify. The defense offered no independent expert witnesses to challenge the DNA evidence the state compiled against Vance. Instead, the defense called a series of state crime and forensics investigators to shake the prosecution's theory, such as by showing blood was not found in Vance's car.
The state rested its case earlier today with testimony about Pressly's autospy and the gruesome injuries she suffered. Autopsy photos prompted some jurors to turn away.
Fox 16's David Goins report that the defense will call two witnesses tomorrow that the jury will not hear. Their testimony will be put on the record in the event of conviction and appeal.
The defense made a point today of demonstrating -- a Shakespearen ploy, the prosecution responded -- that the evidence envelope no longer contained a hair, reputedly Vance's, found in Pressly's bedroom, where an intruder savagely beat her But prosecutors brought out that DNA testing by both the state and defense had consumed all the DNA evidence. A remnant of the hair remains in custody of the Crime Lab.
Defense attorney Katherine Streett also attempted to cast doubt on the Little Rock police's thoroughness in seeking other suspects by asking Police Chief Stuart Thomas about a memo he'd written saying Vance was the only suspect in the case. He said this wasn't a reflection on police vigor in investigation, but a response to rampant (and unfounded) rumors that sprang up about a supposed involvement in the case by famous local boxer Jermain Taylor.
"At the point where I issued that, the rumor had run to the point that we had Mr. Taylor in custody and I was lying about it," Thomas said.