Tensions rise during Collier's murder trial

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

There were some tense moments at Samuel Todd Collier's murder trial Thursday as the defense tried to discredit the prosecution's witnesses.

The prosecution is trying to prove Collier murdered Mark Sturgill, but Collier says it was self defense and that Sturgill was getting ready to draw his gun before he shot him.

As the prosecution continued their case, testimony focused the toxicology report and gun shot residue tests.

The test showed that Collier had no gun residue on his hands. Previous testimony showed that Collier wiped his hands on a damp towel after the shooting.

Results did show Sturgill had residue on his palms but not the back of his hands. The prosecution asked the Kentucky State Police forensic scientist if the residue Sturgill's hands could be from a defensive position. The witness agreed that it could be a possibility.

The first law enforcement officer on the scene testified that when he found Sturgill his gun was strapped in the holster.

Jenkins Police Chief Adam Benjamin Swindall would later testify that Sturgill's jacket was zipped and only after moving the jacket could he see Sturgill's gun.

When the defense had their turn to cross examine the chief, the jury heard a new aspect to the case.

The defense asked if Chief Swindall was friends with Mark Sturgill. He agreed and said that they were.

Defense attorney James Wiley Craft then asked the chief if he had told the other officer to let Collier go that night while his gun was out. The chief said he never said that.

He said he never spoke to Collier the night of the shooting and only walked him up the hill with the other officer.

Testimony was also heard from the medical examiner that Sturgill had alcohol and Valium in his system, but the prosecution said those levels were low.

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