KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The state has a big task at hand in the Norman Clark retrial. Prosecutors are trying to convince 12 jurors that Clark is a killer.
They say he’s the only person with a motive to kill Brittany Eldridge: she was having a baby that he didn’t want and it was a threat to his freedom.
On the other hand, the defense is advancing an argument that Eldridge’s death was a burglary gone bad, a narrative that was put to the test in day four of the retrial.
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“Unfortunately I think I’m going to have to take him to court to get any help from him financially,” Assistant DA Leslie Nassios read an entry from Eldridge’s journal from November 2011.
Jurors heard the thoughts of the murdered woman detailed in her diary. Eldridge wrote in her journal, just weeks before she was killed in her Knoxville apartment, that she was going to have to take her boyfriend Clark to court for child support money.
The state also called a key witness to the stand, Eldridge’s mother Robin Owens.
Owens told jurors in court that Clark notified her in December 2011 that her daughter did not show up to work. Owens went to Eldridge’s apartment to check on her daughter.
“I’m on the phone with 911, the place is just a wreck, I can’t find her,” Owens said in court. “I didn’t go into the bedroom. I ran out of the apartment. I ran down the office. I tried to get an officer manager to come back up with me because I was scared.”
Owens fought back tears as she recalled the moment she found her daughter Brittany dead.
“Right when I turned the corner, I saw her and I ran completely fast out of the apartment,” Owens said. “I was scared to death. I was so freaked out. I was in shock. It was horrible.”
The state maintains Clark was the only person with a reason to kill Eldridge. The defense said she died in a burglary, but the crime scene investigator on the case called that theory into question, saying in court that the evidence did not show signs of a traditional burglary.
“I took some pictures of the door, the door frame, the windows around back, the sliding glass door and the stick in it, basically showing a lack of forced entry,” Knoxville Police Department Crime Scene Investigator Russell Whitfield said.