Jury begins deliberation in auto theft trial

BEDFORD – A Lawrence County Superior Court I jury began deliberating in the auto theft trial of Scott Afanador.

Scott Afanador

If convicted on that charge he will face a habitual offender charge.

The jury began their deliberations at 10:48 a.m.

Judge John Plummer III is presiding.

Afanador is being represented by Public Defender Denise Turner and Chief Public Defender Bruce Andis. Prosecutor Ryne Koucouthakis and Chief Deputy Prosecutor Allison Chopra are presenting the case for the state.

The trial is being live-streamed at this link

Prosecutor Koucouthakis told the jury during closing statements that all the jury had to do was “connect the dots.”

“The evidence so clearly shows you what happened,” he told the jury. “We know on August 6th the defendant was driving the stolen vehicle… The evidence connects the dots and you have a clear picture.”

But Defense Attorney Denise Turner says the picture is not that clear.

“The question is – was the car even stolen?” she told the jury. “Sgt. Johnson during his testimony said I didn’t say you stole the vehicle. Scott says several times I didn’t steal the vehicle.”

Turner said it was strange that on August 4th the owner of the vehicle, Daylon Elliott just so happened to leave the keys in his vehicle.

“How would anyone just know that?” she told the jury. “Is it possible he lent that car to someone? Who would steal a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu? It’s not a great car.”

She then stated possession of stolen property is not a crime.

The vehicle was stolen from the parking lot of Brawley Group on College Mall Road in Bloomington. Daylon Elliott parked his vehicle that morning but accidentally left his keys in his 2003 gold Chevrolet Malibu.

Elliott testified when he returned from work his vehicle was missing.

Bloomington Police Officer Jacqueline Dilts testified she took the stolen vehicle report from Elliott.

Afanador was arrested on August 6, 2020, after a Lawrence County Sheriff’s deputy responded to the 8850 block of State Road 150 after a report of a suspicious vehicle in a driveway and someone knocking on the caller’s door.

Lawrence County Police Sgt. Lonnie Johnson responded to the scene. He testified Tuesday when he arrived Afanador was pulling out of the driveway and stopped Afanador.

The traffic stop was captured on Sgt. Johnson’s body camera. The jury viewed that video Tuesday.

In the video, 44-year-old Scott Afanador, told Sgt. Johnson he was looking for a male friend’s house and this is where his GPS took him, but he said no one would answer the door.

Sgt. Johnson then tells Afanador the male he was looking for did not live at the home and the homeowners were concerned why he was knocking on their door.

Sgt. Johnson then ran the registration of the vehicle and learned the vehicle had been stolen from Bloomington. Afanador was asked to step out of the vehicle and was placed in handcuffs.

Afanador told Sgt. Johnson repeatedly he did not steal the vehicle but had borrowed it from a woman named Tabitha Carpenter.

Sgt. Johnson is heard in the video saying he was detaining Afanador not for stealing the vehicle but for possession of a stolen vehicle.

The vehicle was towed and the Bloomington Police Department was notified of the recovery.

The once gold vehicle was partially painted white.