Jury will hear closing arguments in Scott Afanador trial

BEDFORD – A Lawrence County Superior Court I jury will hear closing arguments this morning in the trial of Scott Afanador.

Scott Afanador

Afanador is facing charges of auto theft and being a habitual offender.

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 opening statements it will be easy to find Afanador guilty of auto theft.

“All you have to do is connect the dots and one picture will be clear,” he said. “Scott Afanador stole the vehicle.”

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

“The question is – was the car even stolen?” she told the jury.

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.

He stopped Afanador who was driving the vehicle.

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

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 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.

Afanador repeatedly stated he did not steal the vehicle but had borrowed it from a friend.

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

The once gold vehicle was partially painted white.

The Defense Attorney Denise Turner asked if Sgt. Johnson ever checked out Afanador’s story about Tabitha Carpenter. He replied no.

The state then rested. The defense chose not to present a case.

The jury will hear closing statements this morning when court resumes at 8:30 a.m.