ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - The prosecution rested Thursday in the trial of a husband accused of murdering his wife for insurance money.
The prosecution put multiple forensic witnesses on the stand to dispute Justin Barber's version of what happened the night his wife fatally shot. The final witness for the state was a crime scene analyst who said he doesn't believe Barber moved his wife, April, after she was shot.
Barber told police he and his wife were attacked by a gunman near the water. He said he passed out and awoke to find his wife shot and then dragged her to a boardwalk several hundred feet away.
However, two analysts testified that April Barber was shot where her body was found.
Medical examiner Dr. Terrence Steiner told the jury Barber's wife died from a single gunshot that entered through her cheek and lodged in her spinal column in her neck.
Steiner also said the volume of saltwater in her lungs indicated she nearly drowned. He said based on the blood flow from the wound, it was his opinion April Barber was shot where her body was found, near the boardwalk in the dunes, not near the water.
"It tells me her head was in that position, either there or somewhere else, and kept in that position. If you go anywhere else, the blood's going to change directions," Steiner said.
Jerry Findley was called by the prosecution and agreed with Steiner that the blood flow from April Barber's wound indicates she was shot where her body was found, in the dunes near the boardwalk.
Findley also addressed the drag marks in the sand, he said they were not consistent with Barber's claim as to how he dragged her from the water's edge.
"If the body had been moved that many times, the head would change positions at which time the blood flow would have changed positions," Findley said. "When she fell and the blood started ... it was right there. She didn't move."
The defense countered, saying the blood evidence was inconsistent in where it was found and how it got there.
Defense attorney Bob Willis asked if Barber were bleeding bad enough to stain his clothing and car, why there wasn't blood anywhere else.
"They found no blood on the ground at all. Not on the street, next to the car, on the walkover ? Not anywhere. Not right next to her body in the sand," Willis said. "There was none of Mr. Barber's blood found dripping anywhere."
The prosecution concluded its case following the testimony of Thursday's witnesses. The trial is expected to continue Monday.
The jury was told on Thursday that it would be sequestered when deliberations begin sometime next week.
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