The 2nd day of the 1st Degree Murder trial of Brandan Butler began the day with three-and-a half hours testimony from Bossier Police Detective Jeff Humphrey, who outlined his first encounter with Butler at the crime scene.
Butler is accused in the violent deaths of 26-year-old Karyl Cox and 24-year-old Jacqueline Beadle, who were found dead in their Bragg Street home on May 11, 2014.
Humphrey said he was inside the home on the day the women’s bodies were found, and received a message that someone outside wanted to talk to him.
He said he left the residence and found Butler standing outside the crime scene tape, along with a crowd of people and police officers securing the perimeters of the scene. He first took Butler aside, and then to his car, where they drove to the Bossier City Police Station.
The two went to Humphrey’s office and had a conversation. Butler told him that the women were close friends, and called Cox his best friend. Butler offered some information, but not much about the actual crime, and was free to leave.
As the investigation progressed, however, Butler was called back to the police station, where he was taken to the interview room. There, after being read his Miranda Rights, he was interviewed by former Bossier City Detective Michael Hardesty.
When Hardesty left the interview room and Humphrey went in to speak with Butler. When Butler began giving information to Humphrey, he quickly exited to retrieve a recorder, re-entered, and began to record the interview.
That recording was played in open court. During the interview Humphrey asked Butler about a bloody fingerprint, identified as his, found at the crime scene. Butler explained he had been at the women’s home the Friday before, and Beadles had fallen against a dresser, wounding herself and bleeding. He explained he had picked the woman up off the floor, leaving a fingerprint in the house.
In the recording of the interview, Butler implicated a man named Shawn Washington, who he said was Beadles boyfriend, as the probable killer. He said Washington was abusive to Beadles, and on the Friday night before the bodies were found, walked up and down the street uttering, “I’m going to kill that bitch, I’m going to kill that bitch.”
Although the 1st Degree Murder indictment against Butler claims the women were killer. between May 9 and May 10, 2014, Dr. Long Jin, pathologist who performed the autopsy on Cox testified he was unable to estimate a time of death because of temperature irregularities reported from the crime scene.
Because there was evidence of a struggle between the women and their assailant, defense attorney Bruce Unangst asked Jin why fingernail scrapings weren’t taken from the victim. He replied that investigators didn’t ask for them so he didn’t do them.
Dr. James Traylor, pathologist who performed the autopsy on Beadle, who was asked the same question by the defense, responded that he didn’t take them for the same reason, he wasn’t asked.
However, he added, the hands weren’t bagged, so they could have been contaminated.
As the state showed photos of Beadle’s body, Traylor outlined the gunshot wound above her left eyebrow, which he said was inflicted by holding the muzzle of the gun up against her skull and firing, along with stab wounds, abrasions and defensive wounds, inflicted as she tried to fight off her attacker.
In the afternoon’s final hours, the prosecution called retired Bossier Parish Detective Jeff Ross about his work taking impressions of the three to four finger prints from the outside of one of the bedroom doors at the crime scene.
Ross took photos of the prints, which were light, enhanced them with photo shop and found one that had enough points to match Brandon’s left ring finger.
Judge Michael Nerren, who is presiding over the bench trial and will ultimately decide on Butler’s guilt or innocence. Bossier Assistant District Attorney Andrew Jacobs is prosecuting the case.