Text messages take center stage in day 3 of Norman Clark retrial

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Prosecutors took the court back to December 2011 on Wednesday in the murder retrial of a man accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

Norman Clark was tried in 2015 in the deaths of Brittany Eldridge and her unborn son.

In day three of the trial, the state tried to advance their argument that Clark not only had a motive to kill Eldridge and their unborn baby, but he also had plans to be at her apartment the night she died. Those plans were confirmed by witness testimony and text messages.

Round two of testimony raised questions about Clark’s involvement in the murder. Friends say Eldridge and Clark had plans to see each other the night of her death.

Previous story: Retrial begins for Knoxville man accused of murdering pregnant girlfriend

“She was in a really good mood. She came by my desk around lunch time and I said, ‘Is something great going on?’ And she said ‘Yeah, Norman’s coming over tonight. We’re going to talk about the baby,'” said Eldridge’s friend Kate Centers.

Those plans were also revealed in text records. Clark told Eldridge he’d let her know when he was on his way. Texts also zeroed in on Clark’s alibi. He maintains he was at another woman’s apartment the night Eldridge died, but text messages show the woman he was supposedly staying with didn’t know he was there until the following morning.

A Verizon Wireless expert took the stand, telling jurors Clark’s phone was in the vicinity of Eldridge’s apartment around the time she died, though the exact time of her death is still unclear.

Also in question is the way Clark reacted the day after Eldridge’s death. He was the one who notified Eldridge’s boss about her passing.

“I didn’t see an emotion. When he came to me originally, when I asked him if he had heard from her, his eyes looked glassy. He looked tired. He didn’t have any emotion. He was pretty calm about it. He said she was gone and turned away,” said Kim Russell.

The biggest advantage the defense has is the absence of any direct evidence. Investigators were unable to locate the murder weapon, which was a pair of scissors, or trace back any DNA evidence to the killed. This is something they hope to expand upon as the trial continues.

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