(BLOOMFIELD) - Testimony continues in the murder trial 52-year-old Randy Knapp in Bloomfield. Knapp, of Bloomington is accused of killing Solsberry resident Stacey Jo Lawson.
Greene County Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw says Knapp knowingly and intentionally murdered 28-year-old Stacey Lawson on Aug. 19, 2011.
Knapp allegedly picked Lawson up from her boyfriend, Patrick Lewis' home under the impression she would be getting a large sum of money. When Lawson did not return later in the evening Lewis went to look for her, unsuccessfully. It was not until the next afternoon Lewis returned to the grave site of Lawson's younger brother at Newark Cemetery - which she visited frequently - found her body and called 911.
Holtsclaw told the jury that Knapp killed Lawson, because he believed Lawson caused the suicide of a man he considered his stepson Jeffre Alan Sims. Knapp allegedly told people he was going to murder Lawson because of the part she played in the apparent suicide of her former boyfriend, Sims. Lawson had formerly lived with Sims, who was found dead in a Bloomington motel room just weeks before her murder.
Holtsclaw told the jury Knapp had visited the residence of Aaron Struck, who had served as the preacher at Sims' funeral, earlier that day. Knapp was allegedly upset with everyone involved in the estate of Sims.
Holtsclaw told the jury Knapp told Aaron Struck he was going to kill Stacey Lawson.
On August 19th, Knapp allegedly visited Brian Patton telling his friend he had killed Lawson and described to Patton in detail he had hit Lawson in the head several times with a large rock.
An autopsy showed blunt force trauma to her head was the cause of death for Lawson. She was also covered in bruises on her back, arms and face.
A large geode rock taken from Lawson's brother's grave was later found at Sims' former residence where Knapp had been staying.
During the course of the investigation, Holtsclaw noted investigators noticed a scratch near Knapp's collar bone, and he voluntarily offered a sample of his DNA.
Fingernail clippings were taken from Lawson.
"The defendant's DNA was present under two of Stacey Lawson's fingernails," Holtsclaw said.
Knapp's attorney David Hunter told the jury the case was not conducted properly by investigators because they acted upon an assumption of guilt.
Defense attorney David Hunter said his client was unfairly targeted from the beginning.
"An assumption was made that the defendant did it, and from then on the case was not about what happened, but about convicting him," Hunter said.
During an eight-hour interview after his arrest at his home on Tapp Road, Knapp told police he had driven Lawson around and the two talked. He said he did not hurt her, and had dropped her off on the road.
Before the trial got under way Tuesday, one juror was dismissed and replaced by an alternate. Later in the morning, after a closed-door hearing with the judge and lawyers, that juror was let go as well and replaced by another alternate. Judge Erik Allen would not say why the jurors were dismissed.
One alternate juror remains. The trial continues today and is expected to last about two weeks.
Have a question or comment about a news story? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org