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Terrance Black murder trial: Day Two
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Original entry 8 a.m.
Testimony in the Terrance Black capital murder trial resumes at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. Black,50, is accused of killing Susan Loper, his ex-girlfriend, in April 2011.
On the first day of trial, 15 prosecution witnesses took the stand, including Loper's mother and three former clients at her Pilates studio. If convicted, Black faces life in prison.
Update 10:15 a.m.
The morning began with Plano PD Detective Scott Epperson on the stand. Epperson was one of the primary investigators in Susan Loper's disappearance and will resume his testimony after the court's morning recess.
During prosecution questioning Epperson said he found a large amount of blood in front of the Pilates studio, as well as smaller amounts inside and behind the building.
[The blood inside] was nothing compared to what was outside on the street, Epperson told the jury.
He also testified that he saw three live rounds of 9 mm ammunition, with a CBC head stamp. Two rounds were found inside the studio and one was found in the bushes by the front door. This is significant because prosecutors told the jury in their opening statements that while Terrance Black was not a gun person, he bought a 9 mm handgun in 2010. In yesterday's testimony, Loper's mother Catherine Miller backed up the prosecutors claim that Black was not a gun person, testifying he never spoke of guns during the several years she knew him prior to Loper's murder.
Epperson spent a good deal of time walking prosecutors through 100-plus crime scene photos, including photos of a hair scrunchie, which was found on the ground behind the building. On Day 1, Miller testified her daughter would use scrunchies to keep her hair tied back while at work.
At that time, I think Susan Loper has been violently kidnapped
I was alarmed because of her purse and cellphone having been at the scene with her car missing, Epperson said.
Epperson said he and another detective met with the family about 2 p.m. the day Loper disappeared. He said in addition to Loper's parents, he met with her ex-husband Craig Loper and two of her friends, Melanie Malone and Julie Mitchell. Epperson testified that all present except Loper's father, Morris Miller, mentioned that Terrance Rance Black may be involved. Epperson also said Malone mentioned the name Jayson Hayes, Loper's current boyfriend and the person the defense attorneys have attempted to show may be responsible for the murder. While Malone mentioned Hayes to detectives, she also said he would not have hurt Loper, Epperson testified.
Prior to the detectives leaving the Loper residence, Hayes arrived. Epperson said he spoke to Hayes, but couldn't recall if he asked him of his whereabouts during the time the crime was committed.
Update 11:15 a.m.
Detective Scott Epperson is off the stand, but will be called back later during the trial. At that time the defense will cross examine him. Now on the stand is David King, the security officer on duty at Gleneagles shortly before Susan Loper was abducted. He testified he got off duty at 5:56 a.m. on the morning of April 19.
Update 12:35 p.m.
A fire alarm went off shortly after 11:35 a.m., causing the entire courthouse to be evacuated. Testimony by David King resumed at 12:05 p.m. The court took a recess for lunch at 12:31 p.m.
Update 2:55 p.m.
Prosecution witness Detective Brian Pfahning is still on the stand. Under cross examination he has testified that no blood was found at Terrance Black's house. He also testified that a significant amount of blood was found in Susan Loper's car inside and outside, in the front and back seat and at the crime scene at Gleneagles.
"Blood was all over the car in multiple places," Pfahning said, adding he thought a struggle had occurred inside the car. He also admitted to Defense Attorney Toby Shook that he left the part about the struggle out of his report.
The implication by Shook seems to be that if Black killed Loper, he would have had blood on him. That blood would then have been found at his residence.
Update 3:45 p.m.
Detective Brian Pfahning finished up on the stand about 3:15 p.m. Toward the end of his time on the stand he testified that it would have been possible for whoever attacked Susan Loper to have changed their clothes after the attack and therefore not spread blood to other areas. Prosecutor John Schomburger suggested the attacker may have been wearing medical scrubs. While no mention was made to Terrance Black, earlier testimony established he was attending Sanford-Brown College in Dallas at the time of the murder, a college specializing in medical degrees such as cardiovascular technology. Black, therefore, it was implied, would have access to medical scrubs.
Taking the stand after a brief recess is Detective Elizabeth Spillman.
Update 4:55 p.m.
Former Plano crime scene analyst Carla Terhuna is now on the stand. She as the first crime scene analyst on the scene at Gleneagles on April 19.
Detective Elizabeth Spillman testified that it was impossible to tell where Susan Loper was killed, or how many assailants were involved. She also said the blood may have been soaked into the backseat of Loper's Toyota Rav 4. She said she could not tell if there was a struggle inside the vehicle.
Update 5:20 p.m.
The final witness of the day was Nick Hirani, who works at a Shell gas station located on Main Street in The Colony. Hirani was only on the stand for about five minutes. He said that he aided police in downloading a copy of surveillance footage from his gas station, but no mention was made as to what was on the video tape.
Court will resume at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, with several crime scene analysts expected to testify.