STEVE TOMS MURDER TRIAL: A gruesome discovery and a daughter's final messages
June 12, 2015 at 7:31 PM EST - Updated July 2 at 8:00 AM
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM)
A jewelry store owner described a gruesome discovery on the stand Friday as the murder portion of a trial continued for an alleged crime spree.
Holding back tears and facing attorneys' questions, the daughter of beloved businessman Steve Toms also took the stand.
In a pool of blood and with major bodily wounds is how Gold and Silver owner Bob Upchurch says he found Steve Toms in 2011 when he came into his store that morning.
Upchurch's 911 call detailed how by the time he arrived, it was already too late. Toms was gone.
Upchurch described on the stand Friday that when he first walked into his store, he saw Toms' feet and thought he might have suffered a heart attack.
Upon approaching, Upchurch says it was clear something tragic and disturbing had happened.
The 911 operator, heard in evidence presented to the jury, began instructing Upchurch on how to do CPR as first responders were on their way.
Upchurch says he saw major bodily harm, and knew it was already too late to save him.
"It was obvious he was dead and I didn't want to touch him, I didn't want to touch evidence," said Upchurch.
Toms' daughter also took the stand, detailing how her final words to her father came through text messages as she checked on her father's health after he had told her previously he wasn't feeling too well.
The defense pointed out that around $220,000 was found in an unlocked safe at the jewelry store, implying that if defendant Michael Johnson was committing an armed robbery like other robberies in the trial, he would have taken that cash.
Attorneys also tried to get across that it would make more sense that someone with a personal connection, not after money, committed the murder.
However Toms' daughter claims no one she could think of had animosity towards her father.
We will continue to bring you breaking developments as the trial resumes Monday.