KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The state hopes dashcam footage will give them the edge in the retrial of Norman Clark.
Clark is accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend Brittany Eldridge. He was put on trial for the crime in 2011, but it ended in a mistrial.
Because there isn’t any direct evidence linking Clark to the crime scene, the state is relying on his motive and demeanor to convince the jury he killed Eldridge and their unborn baby. In court Friday, the jury saw video of Clark in a police car, acting very calm and unemotional, just hours after learning his girlfriend was brutally murdered.
In the video, Clark tells police he wasn’t at Eldridge’s apartment the night before, though text records show they made plans to see each other.
Knoxville Police Sergeant Brian Bumpus took the witness stand on Friday. He responded to the crime scene shortly after Eldridge was found dead. He took the time to comfort Eldridge’s mother and talk with Clark.
“I would refer to [Clark’s demeanor] as stoic. He really didn’t say a whole lot. He didn’t appear to be as emotional as Ms.Owens was,” said Bumpus.
The defense took the opportunity during cross-examination to make a point to the jury suggesting police zeroed in on Clark from early on in the investigation, not considering other possible suspects.
“At some point you also say: ‘I don’t know why we’re all standing around here like a gaggle like this. Someone needs to go over there and get that boyfriend and get him in the car somewhere and start getting a statement.’ Is that something you said?” asked defense attorney Kit Rodgers. Bumpus agreed.
An investigator testified that in traditional burglaries, things are often broken, medication is taken and there are signs of forced entry. He said none of that was present at the scene of Eldridge’s murder. Her laptop, TV, medication, safe and money were still there.
The investigator also explained Eldridge’s ex-husband was not a suspect because they were able to confirm he was out of town at the time of the murder.
The defense still maintains Eldridge died from a burglary gone bad and that Clark cooperated with law enforcement from the start. He let police search his car and go through his cell phone in an effort to prove he had nothing to hide.
Trial resumes Monday morning.