Video shows Stansell changing story after fatal stab wound – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

BendenRex Stansell

The prosecutor closed the state’s case against a second-degree murder suspect after showing video interviews of him changing his story.

The second-degree murder trial of 21-year-old Brenden Rex Stansell continued Thursday in Jackson County Circuit Court for the third day of proceedings.

Assistant District Attorney Lucy Durst released a second video interview with Stansell after he fatally stabbed 23-year-old Matthew James Joseph Stephens with a 26-inch-long Steampunk Gun Blade sword.

Video interviews by Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputies showed that Stansell changed his story and the order of events. Durst used his opening statement Tuesday to indicate that Stansell’s statements were inconsistent.

At one point, Stansell was shown telling investigators that he stabbed Stephens immediately after the man’s dog attacked him.

After one of the investigators pointed out the inconsistencies, Stansell then said the dog attack happened earlier and he stabbed Stephens from the bed of his truck while Natasha Carson and Stephens sat in the cabin preparing to use meth.

Stansell has always denied using methamphetamine on the day of the alleged murder.

Carson, whose testimony began Wednesday and continued Thursday, had brought the sword on the trip to the Elderberry Flats area. Stansell said he was to be paid to drive Carson and Stephens to the site of an abandoned trailer, where they had heard weapons were located.

Carson brought the long blade. Another friend, identified only as “Tony”, sold it to her after he got a “smash and grab”, she said several times during her testimony.

Defense attorney Peter Carini asked one of the investigators, Scott Waldon, why Carson had not been charged with any crime, as it was alleged that she assaulted, robbed and kidnapped Stansell after believing that he had stolen a gold medallion from her.

“I’m sure there was some sort of altercation,” Waldon said.

He also said that Carson’s accounts of the events “were all over the place”.

Carson returned Thursday to testify about the inclusion of personal information and to answer questions about the incident, such as the dog attack that occurred earlier in the trip. Carini also questioned her earlier statement that she couldn’t read.

She said she could use a dictation program and her phone would read messages to her.

Assistant State Medical Examiner James Olson, who performs about 300 autopsies a year, said the homicide “involved a deep stab wound with a very unusual instrument.” Olson explained.

Olson explained how Stephens’ fatal wound appears to have been caused and answered further questions about various marks on Stephens’ body. Although abrasions were found on Stephens face and chin which appeared to be fresh and likely to have occurred shortly after his death (before or after), investigators are still unsure how they occurred .

Durst closed his case Thursday. The trial was scheduled to last four days and is due back to the jury on Friday.

Carini showed video of the trip the trio took and highlighted some of the places they stopped. The video was shot about a week ago and showed that the area was remote and the road was rough, although a campsite and some houses were along the road.

Carini said Stansell could testify. Stansell’s father is due to appear and the investigator, Steve Bohn, will be recalled.


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