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Ohio female
impersonator murder trial continues

Ohio female
impersonator murder trial continues

Presenting the coroner's autopsy report and the videotaped interrogation of the defendant, the prosecution on Tuesday presented the strongest evidence yet in the samurai-sword slaying of a popular local female impersonator in Columbus, Ohio. Admitted killer Michael Jennings, 34, sat with his head down as he and the three-judge panel hearing his case heard for the first time his version of events in the May 17, 2002, murder of 36-year-old Gary McMurtry. On the taped interrogation, Jennings answered basic questions, casually bantering with officers, then denied involvement in the attack. "They are actually real good friends of mine, and they helped me out when I hit rock bottom, so to speak," said the rather emotionless Jennings after being told someone had died at a home he was familiar with. "This is kind of disturbing to hear." After he spent 20 minutes telling officers a false story about his whereabouts that morning, Jennings was told that he would be charged with murder. "I don't have anything against anybody.... I had no fallouts with him," Jennings told officers of his relationship with McMurtry. Just a few minutes later however, after being left alone in the room, Jennings put his head on the table, appearing to sob, shake his head, and mumble to himself. At one point he looked directly into the camera. Five minutes later he suddenly sat back in his chair and looked up as if talking to God. "It's all my fault," he said. Jennings has admitted to the slaying of McMurtry and has pled not guilty by reason of insanity. McMurtry's roommate, Brian Bass, who testified on Monday, was also wounded in the attack. As the tape played, Jennings, who could hear but not see himself on the screen in the courtroom, began to imitate the gestures he made on-screen as he, according to a defense team aide, relived his interrogation for the first time since his arrest. Jennings's defense attorneys confirmed their client will take the stand on Thursday. Closing arguments are expected on Friday. Just prior to the introduction of the tape, assistant prosecutor George Ellis read aloud the autopsy report, describing in detail each of the 13 wounds McMurtry received from one sword and one handheld knife, including the fatal blows to the heart and liver. As he recounted the 10th wound, Judge Beverly Pfeiffer seemed to lose her composure slightly, looking first down at her desk and then up at the ceiling. Prosecutors introduced testimony from a few other crime scene investigators, most of whom were not cross-examined by the defense. The defense team is expected to begin presenting its case on Wednesday. (Doug Maag, Advocate.com)

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