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Officers testify about finding murdered wife

By: Andy Cunningham Email
By: Andy Cunningham Email

Several Lexington Police officers took the stand today to testify in the Don Southworth murder trial.

Prosecutors questioned the police officers who went to the Southworth's apartment back in June of 2010. They went to the home after getting a call from Umi Southworth's co-workers. Workers at Fazoli's Corporate Headquarters called police when Umi Southworth didn't show up for work that morning.

Officers testified that they first did a quick search of the couple's apartment looking for Umi Southworth. When they didn't find her inside, they took that search outside.

During that search, police say Don Southworth came home. According to police, he seemed very nervous and appeared "frail."

"The first thing he said to me when he walked up was, 'You found her didn't you? You know that she's hurt.' And when he said that, he was again in that very visible shaky voice. And I said, 'No. No we have not sir,'" Lexington Police officer Sgt. Todd Phillips testified on the stand.

In reality, officers had found Umi Southworth's body under a mattress, in a treeline in the backyard. Police say they didn't tell Don Southworth immediately because they wanted to ask him more questions.

The officer who found Umi Southworth says she showed no signs of life.

"I lifted up the box spring mattress and that is when i found Ms. Southworth underneath, she was lying face down, naked," said Officer Brett Marshall.

It wasn't until the coroner arrived hours later, that Marshall and the other officers found out that Umi was still alive.

"I was shocked. I was in disbelief. I just, pretty much, in shock," said Marshall.

Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn also took the witness stand on Wednesday. Ginn told the jury he and Deputy Coroner John McCarty were processing the scene, when they noticed something they never expected.

"John's comment to me was, "did she just move?" Ginn said during testimony. "I took the camera away from my face and focused in toward her back upper portion of her thorax and at that time I saw her move. And John shouted, "Oh my God, she just breathed."

Umi was taken to UK Hospital. Wednesday in court, doctors testified that it didn't matter when she received care because her injuries were non-survivable.

"if you had gotten her right away, ah, she might have survived a couple of days instead of dying within 7-hours. But her fate was sealed at the end of the assault," Dr. Paul Kearney of UK Hospital testified.

Witness testimony will resume on Thursday morning.

You can follow Andy Cunningham live from the courtroom on his twitter feed.


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