Both Sides Rest Their Case in Thornburg Murder Trial

Both sides in a Young County Murder Trial rested their case on Monday.  Jeremy Thornburg is accused in the disappearance and murder of Candice Shields.  She went missing on December 11th, 2011.

Before resting their case, prosecutors brought Brent Hester, a forensic scientist with the Texas Department of Public Safety DNA Crime Lab in Lubbock to the stand.  He did a DNA test on the gun that was taken from Thornburg.  He said he found a small stain on the gun allegedly used in the murder.  Hester said the stain looked like blood.

After conducting the test the forensic scientist said they looked at the profile and compared it to the references they had.  In this case they had a gallbladder tissue sample from Candice Shields.  She had it removed in the past.

After reviewing the DNA profile from the blood stain on the gun, it was consistent with the DNA profile of Candice Shields.

The defense asked Hester if he could positively say it was her DNA on the gun, but all he could say was that it can't be ruled out.

Prosecutors also went over the phone records of Thornburg, Shields, and the codefendant, Lajuana Long.  Texas Ranger Cory Lane took the stand to testify about the phone records.

Texas Ranger Lane said the phone records from Thornburg showed he was in contact with Shields and Long on December 10th, 2011.  However, there was trouble determining if some of them were phone calls or text messages.  Even if they were text messages, they weren't able to trace them.  Texas Ranger Lane said this is because the phone company didn't have the records anymore.  He also said it could have been because they were wiped off the phone by Thornburg.

Texas Ranger Lane also testified, saying that from his investigation, he believes Thornburg may have killed Shields, called her cell phone to find it on her body, and then wiped it clean of certain items.  Then he said he believes Thornburg returned the phone to her grandparents later that night.

Once the prosecution rested their case, the defense took over.  They brought four people to take the stand to testify.

One of them was a Sergeant with the Graham Police Department who overlooks the sex offender registration.  The reason they brought him to the stand was because Shields was a registered sex offender.  According to his testimony Shields was not in compliance because she changed her address on December 1st, 2011 and never reported to her officer.

Then Thornburg's younger brother, James Barnett, took the stand.   He said Thornburg and Shields live with him and his wife.  He said Candice moved into their apartment sometime in September of 2011 and Thornburg moved in a few days after her.  Barnett said Shields would use his wife's cell phone.  Shields stayed with them for six to eight weeks.

Lt. James Reeves also took the stand.  He stated he and Texas Ranger Lane executed a search warrant at Thornburg's residence.  However, it was hard to testify about the report because he claimed he wasn't the one who did it.  He also said Shields's mother gave him her cell phone when they reported she was missing on December 15th, 2011.  Lt. Reeves also said he interviewed one of Thornburg's brothers, Jimmy.  Jimmy Thornburg told authorities that the defendant told him where he shot and killed Shields.  The brother said he didn't believe the defendant at first, but when he was arrested he realized he wasn't lying.  Lt. Reeves said they searched the area where Jimmy told them the murder happened, but they didn't find any evidence.

The defense also brought up Texas Ranger Lane.  They asked him about an interview he did with one of Shields's ex-boyfriends.  Texas Ranger Lane said he admitted to being on the phone with her the day before she went missing.  He also said they took his cell phone to check his records.

The court will resume on Tuesday morning at 9:00a.m. with closing arguments.

, Newschannel 6