(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Despite periodic pauses for a noisy freight train passing just outside the Dearborn County Circuit Courtroom, prosecutors in the murder trial of Charles Robert Stephenson have not been slowed in introducing piles of evidence.
Stephenson, 59, of Walton, Kentucky, is on trial for the murder and robbery of Aurora resident Leigh Jennings on March 29, 2012. Since testimony began May 8, the state has introduced over 200 pieces of evidence as they present their argument to jurors.
Charles Robert Stephenson’s suicide note was entered as evidence Wednesday.
Shortly before his arrest in the days following the discovery of Jennings’ murder, Stephenson attempted suicide. In a blood-streaked note which investigators found, he claimed he did not kill Jennings.
“I am in no pain. So why am I doing this? Coward? No. Killer? No, I did not kill Leigh Jennings,” Stephenson wrote. “Bottom line: money.”
Prosecutors have used part of their testimony detailing how Stephenson owed around $400,000 to a number of individuals. IOU notes showing Stephenson owed Jennings about $5,000 have been introduced as evidence.
Stephenson paid his aunt’s attorney $1,000 the morning after Jennings was killed. Prosecutors allege Stephenson had bounced a check to the attorney in order to pay a court-ordered debt to his aunt a few days before the murder. Investigators believe Stephenson got the money from Jennings’ bedroom safe after he beat her to death.
Jurors also heard about fingerprint evidence detectives found during the murder investigation. Stephenson’s fingerprint was found on the large, red pepper grinder and the heavy iron skillet he allegedly used to brutally beat Jennings over the head.
Wally Lewis, a crime scene investigator with the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department, told jurors that cleaning products were found in Stephenson’s vehicle. Stephenson allegedly told police that he cleaned his car twice in the week following Jennings’ murder.
Since the trial began May 8, the state has introduced over 200 pieces of evidence as they present their argument to jurors. Prosecutor Aaron Negangard said the prosecution could rest its case on Friday.
It would then be the defense’s turn to present its case, which would lilely extend into next week.
There is still speculation over whether Stephenson could choose to take the stand. If so, he would be subject to cross examination by both his attorney Gary Sorge and prosecutors.