Thornburg Trial: Co-Defendant Testifies

It was day three in the Young County murder trial against Jeremy Thornburg.  He is accused in the disappearance and murder of Candice Shields.  She went missing from her Grandparents out on December 11th, 2011.

Prosecutors brought multiple witnesses to the stand.  Two of them were at the trailer park where Lajuana Long gave Thornburg the bleach he allegedly used to dispose her body.

Steven Brown was one of them.  He testified, saying he remembered Long getting a phone call the night before Shields went missing.  He followed her outside and asked what she was doing, and he said she told him she was giving Thornburg the bleach.

The defense argued as to why he never asked more about the bleach, like why Long gave it to him.  He testified, saying he wasn't sure.  They also asked if Brown could identify the vehicle he was driving and he said he couldn't because he walked back inside the trailer.

Jessica Cortez also to the stand.  She was in the trailer with Brown and Long that night because that was where she lived.

When prosecutors asked for her testimony, she confirmed she had bleach in the house on the night Shields disappeared, but that it was used for cleaning purposes.  Cortez said she remembered waking up the next morning and it wasn't there.  She found that strange.  On the same day, she went to the Whataburger in Graham to pick up Long from work.  Long was living with her at the time.  Cortez asked Long about the missing bleach and she admitted to giving it to Thornburg.  When Cortez asked why, Long didn't answer.

Cortez ended up changing her testimony three times.  Eventually prosecutors got her to admit Long told her that Thornburg had killed Shields.  Prosecutors asked Cortez why she didn't come clean from the beginning and she said she wished she would have come forward with the information sooner.  She explained she was scared be Long's family threatened her about taking the stand and giving her testimony.

Lajuana Long also took the stand on Thursday.  She is a co-defendant in the case charged with the disappearance and murder of Shields.

It went back and forth between the prosecution and the defense asking her questions.  The prosecution went over the night before Candice disappeared and she admitted to giving Thornburg the bleach.

She also said she and Thornburg talked about the murder between the end of November 2011 and the beginning of December 2011.  She said Thornburg told her he need to get rid of her and she thought this meant him breaking up with her.  However, he said he wanted to get rid of her permanently.

On the night Shields disappeared, Long said she got multiple calls and text messages from Thornburg.  He called her to tell her when he was on his way to Graham.  Then he contacted her when he was close to the trailer she was living in so he could pick up the bleach.  When he picked up the bleach Long said she saw a gun on the vehicle he was driving.  When she asked him about the gun he said he would use it to kill Shields.

She was also able to identify the vehicle Thornburg used that night in court.

Long said she also heard from him a few hours he left telling her it was done and that she was headed home.

Long has pleaded guilty to her murder trial.  She made an agreement with the state before taking the stand on Thursday.  They agreed, if she testified against Thornburg, that she would only serve 30 years behind bars.

The court will resume on Monday at 9:00a.m.   

, Newschannel 6