BARBOUR COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - The prosecution presented physical evidence in the Barbour County capital murder trial of Willie Dickerson on Wednesday.
The Alabama Supreme Court moved the 2012 case to Russell County to ensure Dickerson gets a fair trial. Barbour County District Attorney Burt Reeves called investigators who helped process the scene.
Crime scene technician John Thomas of the Dothan Police Department testified the body of 26-year-old Willie Pugh was located in the woods approximately 45 feet from Sutton Dairy Road in Barbour County on January 25, 2012, 10 days after he disappeared.
"The body was wrapped in a blanket with duct tape around the body and a black trash bag wrapped around his head," explained Thomas.
As the testimony continued, Thomas told the jury the body had been there for some amount of time due to bodily fluids that had leaked onto the ground.
Reeves also introduced pictures into evidence showing the covered remains with debris on top of the blanket caused by a recent rain, suggested Thomas.
Items collected at the scene were also shown to the jury including the blue blanket, a green mat that was wrapped around the victim's head, his red t-shirt, boxer shorts and black long sleeve shirt, along with the blooded trash bag and duct tape—all packed in clear plastic bags.
During cross examination, the defense asked about the time of day when officers processed the scene. Thomas replied, "It was after dark." When asked why he had on gloves, Thomas said, "Yes, to protect himself and to avoid cross contamination."
At the time of discovery, the body had started the process of decomposition.
The next and final witness for the day, Dr. Stephen Beaudreaux, a Medical Examiner with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, stated Pugh sustained a large laceration on his chin and head and his jawbone was broken. The injuries were consistent with wounds caused by a sharp object.
Despite having multiple cuts to his body, the one very deep sharp force that severed the carotid artery - a major artery supplying blood to the brain, was to the neck, according to Beaudreaux.
The defense team led by Attorney Jay Taylor also focused on Pugh's toxicology report. Beaudreaux said there were no signs of drugs in Pugh's body. However, the marijuana test was inconclusive due to the body starting to decompose.
Willie Dickerson's charred mobile home located in Doster, Ala. was also mentioned again on Wednesday.
Two volunteer firefighters took the stand answering questions about what they saw at the scene. Lewis Williamson of the Louisville Volunteer Fire Department said he noticed a gas can located at the front door of the double-wide trailer. The state claims Dickerson had someone set the house on fire to cover up evidence. At that time, the 44-year-old defendant was incarcerated in Houston County, Ala. on unrelated charges.
When questioning Dickerson about Pugh's disappearance, officers discovered an outstanding warrant for Dickerson days before Pugh's body was found.
Dickerson maintains his innocence.
The state will continue calling more witnesses on Thursday moving towards DNA evidence.