What had been an uphill battle changed directions and began gaining speed for the prosecution on Thursday in the murder trial of John Nathan David, when jurors were presented with a video of the defendant admitting that he shot at Curtis Hubbard.
The video, which was taken following David’s arrest on April 14th, 2011, came shortly after 11:00, when District Attorney Steve Hollis called Jasper County Sheriff Mitchel Newman to the stand to testify about the interview.
In the interview, David told Newman that the deceased, Curtis Hubbard came to his house in the early morning hours of Sunday April, 3rd, 2011 asking for drugs.
David said that he heard a vehicle pull into his driveway and that he waited for someone to knock at the door, but they never did. He said that a short time later he heard someone open the door and went into his kitchen to find Hubbard standing there.
David said Hubbard was talking loud and crazy and that he kept saying over and over that he wanted to buy drugs.
David said that he repeatedly told Hubbard that he did not sell or have drugs, but that the man would not accept what he to say. David said the confrontation became heated as he told Hubbard to leave his home and that the dispute spilled into the front yard, where Hubbard made at least two phone calls and argued with someone about where he was to get drugs. It is at that time that David said he pulled out a gun and showed it to Hubbard and once again told him to leave.
David told Newman that Hubbard went to his truck and that as he got into the vehicle he appeared to be reaching for something.
David said that when Hubbard began to drive away, he rolled down the window. David said he believed Hubbard was going to open fire and that is when he decided to raise the gun and fire 4 to 5 shots towards the vehicle. David said he did so, not only for fear of his life, but also the lives of his wife and two children who were in the house.
David told Newman that he did not know if he had indeed hit Hubbard or not.
The video of the interview that took place at the Jasper County Jail was great for the prosecution, but was strongly resisted by the defense as attorney Michael Stewart Ratcliff, who repeatedly not only objected to the admission of interview numerous times on Thursday, but also in a pre-trial hearing held earlier this month.
Ratcliff said that the interview should not be shown to the jury due to the fact that following his arrest on the previous day, David had said that he did not want to make anyi statements until he had talked to his wife and an attorney.
However, Hollis argued that even though David had said that he did not want to talk on Wednesday following his arrest, he had changed his mind and said that he wanted to talk to Sheriff Newman on the following Thursday morning.
Hollis also argued that case law had shown that a defendant could state that he did not want to talk to anyone without legal council and then turn around and waive that right. Judge Craig Mixson ruled on the side of the prosecution, allowing the video to be admitted into the proceedings.
However, where the alleged murder weapon is remained a mystery at the recess of the trial on Thursday.
The defendant testified that after the shooting took place, he threw the pistol in a bush not far from his home. However, officers investigating the incident never found it.
Questions also surfaced again on Thursday about a previous shooting, where someone had allegedly fired several shots into vehicle Hubbard was driving several weeks before his murder.
In his cross examination of investigator Bob Walker, Ratcliff asked if Walker knew of the shooting and where it took place and also about the weapon involved. Walker stated that it was his understanding that it took place near Caradine Park. Walker also stated that the incident involved a .45 caliber weapon. However, Walker said that did not find any evidence of that shooting.
The prosecution rested on Thursday afternoon and the defense began to call witnesses in the case which is being heard in the District Courtroom of the Jasper County Courthouse. However, before calling any witnesses a motion for Direct Verdict by Ratcliff was denied by Judge Mixson.
First to testify on the behalf of the defense was former sheriff’s deputies Ralph Nichols and Morgan Downs who both testified that they saw multiple tracks in the ditch beside Farm to Market Road 3414, where Hubbard’s vehicle and his lifeless body.
In his cross examination, Ratcliff has repeatedly asked why there were no pictures taken of the tracks or glass found in a ditch near the truck and on Thursday Nichols and Downs both said they thought that the ditches and glass were evidence in the case. However, both men said that Sheriff Newman told them that they were not investigators and to leave the investigation alone.
Testimony is scheduled to continue on Friday.