The defense rested its case after presenting all of its evidence in less than three hours Thursday morning in the eighth day of the triple murder trial against Taybronne White.
Investigators say White shot and killed Brian Lee Daniels, Dustin Knighton and Lisa Hwang in May 2011. Police say he killed them after a botched home invasion and robbery gone wrong on Ford Avenue, just over a mile away from where their bodies were found on Octonia Road. He faces 11 felony charges.
White did not take the stand in his own defense. No one testified about where White was the night of the murders. The defense team's strategy is all about allegations of police failures. The defense team alleges that the police failed to follow leads and to properly gather and preserve evidence.
Lieutenant Patrick Sheridan, a canine handler and instructor from Louisa County, testified that "Maggie" the bloodhound picked up a scent on Old Brook Road in Albemarle County.
Sheridan testified that Maggie followed the scent from the steering wheel of the abandoned getaway car to Abbington Crossing Apartments. Then the scent seemed to disappear on Saxton Court.
The jury also heard evidence that one of the guns used in the murders may have been purchased by one man (not Mr. White) and later fallen into the hands of someone else at that same apartment complex. Sergeant Randall Snead testified he tried to follow up on that lead with that Abbington Crossing Apartments resident but wasn't able to reach him.
Prosecutors say White did not live at Abbington Crossing Apartments but did rent an apartment in the general vicinity of the abandoned car.
In a dramatic moment Thursday, the brother of one of the victims – Justin Knighton - walked into the courtroom wearing a shirt with Knighton's photo and the initials "RIP." After the jury left the courtroom, the defense requested the court declare a mistrial. The judge rejected that argument.
The judge will make decisions on jury instructions Thursday afternoon and Friday. A jury is expected to get the case after closing arguments Monday.