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Murder's witness testifies in trial's second day

By Lucas Geisler, Reporter, lucas.geisler@kmiz.com
Published On: Jun 19 2014 08:46:35 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 19 2014 11:11:20 PM CDT
Nicholas Thomas (center) sits with his attorneys

KMIZ

COLUMBIA, Mo. -

The man allegedly with Nicholas Thomas the night he killed Tre'veon Marshall testified Thursday in the Boone County trial's second day.

Joshua Murray is a co-defendant in the first-degree murder trial stemming from Marshall's death in McKee Park July 14, 2013. He took the stand today, claiming he and Thomas went to McKee Park to fight Marshall. Murray said he had no idea Thomas was going to shoot Marshall.

Evan Garrison, a ballistics investigator with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, also testified. He said police sent him pieces of a .38-caliber bullet jacket from the crime scene. Garrison said .38-caliber bullets can be fired from a .357 revolver - the gun the prosecution says Thomas used that night. Murray also testified that Thomas used .38-caliber bullets because he couldn't afford the .357-caliber bullets. 

Boone County Assistant Prosecutor Tracy Gonzalez showed the jury notes passed between Thomas and Murray while they were in jail. The prosecution says in them, Thomas told Murray to say police made him accuse Thomas of the murder. That way, the two could sue Columbia and Boone County, citing the Ryan Ferguson case as an example.

Public defender David Wallis discredited the notes, saying none of them are explicitly addressed to Murray. He also highlighted the numerous stories Murray gave police about the night Marshall died, such as the changing descriptions of what Thomas was wearing that night, and the changing timeline of events.

One of Murray's good friends, Alex Hutson, took the stand after.  He told the jury Thomas admitted to him in a car ride that he shot Marshall in the back -- even describing how Marshall "folded up like a chair" after he was shot.

The state called Thomas' ex-girlfriend Judy Hussey later on.  She described how Thomas was "different" ever since his best friend Bryan Rankin was killed in 2012.  She told the jury Thomas always carried a gun on him since then, except for after July of 2013, when Marshall was killed.  Hussey alleged Thomas told her he needed to "put the gun up" and carried a mallet instead.  The state showed text messages between Hussey and Thomas with time gaps when the murder reportedly happened.  Prosecutors also played two phone calls between the two, one of them where Thomas tells Hussey he needs her as a witness.

Bryan Rankin's ex-girlfriend Rylie Garrison also testified, saying she knew Thomas through Rankin.  She told the jury she hadn't hung out with Thomas for some time when he called and texted her out of the blue on August 15, 2013, asking for a place to stay while he waited for a ride out of town.  Garrison let him come over, and a few hours later, police showed up and took Thomas away.  After he was gone, Garrison said she allegedly found his backpack and the mallet Hussey referred to earlier.

The defense cross-examined each person, bringing out inconsistencies in their stories and saying there is no way they could have known for certain who shot Marshall because none of them were there.

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