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The trial of Henry Segura continues Friday in Leon County, Florida. He is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his girlfriend Brandi Peters, their 3-year-old son JaVante Segura, and her twin 6-year-old daughters who were not his, Tamiyah and Taniyah Peters.
Prosecutors claim Segura committed the murders because he owed thousands in child support payments. He beat and shot Brandi, shot Tamiyah, and drowned Taniyah and JaVante, they say. All four victims were discovered on Nov. 20, 2010 at their home in Tallahassee, Florida.
The defense, on the other hand, claim that authorities got the wrong guy. They say other people’s DNA were found at the scene, including that of possible suspect Angel Avila-Quinones.
Another man, James Carlos Santos, said during a pre-trial hearing that he had ordered the killings from prison because Peters had allegedly stolen from a Mexican drug cartel. This seemed like a big deal for the defense, but Santos soon pleaded the Fifth. Judge James Hankinson then ruled at Wednesday’s evidentiary hearing that certain statements, including emails to Peters, were inadmissible.
“Quite frankly, I’m not sure anyone would believe what Mr. Santos has to say,” he said.
The defense began presenting their case on Thursday, without the help of this shocking testimony. Several faces from the evidentiary hearing returned.
First on the stand was Gregory Washington, a jailhouse informant. He said that DeMario Paramore confessed to him about committing the murders with Hayward Griffin. Peters and the children were killed over a drug debt, Washington said.
Sgt. Vincent Boccio, of the Tallahassee Police Department testified next. He interviewed Washington in jail, and named him as a confidential informant. Boccio also commented on Kelsey Kinard, one of Segura’s former cellmates and a witness for the prosecution, , who said that Segura confessed to all the killings. Boccia said Kindard never mentioned the children as part of Segura’s alleged jailhouse confession.
#SeguraTrial – Jury ?: Were buccal swabs from Paramore sent to FDLE to compare to potential DNA at crime scene?
Boccio: Yes. No match found
— LawNewz Network (@LawNewzNetwork) August 10, 2017
Griffin, the man implicated in the murders by Washington, was next up to the stand. He said Paramore was a friend, and admitted they did drug sales together. He denied having anything to do with killing Peters and her children.
Mark Lewis, the lead investigator on the case for the TPD, briefly returned to the stand again. He was asked about a letter sent to Peters a few days before her death.
Marquis Davis, one of Peters’ neighbors, then took the stand. He testified to having Peters and the children over at his home the night of the murders, some time around 7 or 7:30 p.m. After a dropping food off at his father’s home, he said he saw a dark-colored SUV in Peters’ driveway at about 8:30 p.m., but it wasn’t Segura’s. Davis didn’t speak to cops at the time, even though his wife and son were questioned. He said he only first spoke to the defense about this. Davis attributed this to a lack of faith in police after his brother was murdered and the case remained unsolved.
Darius Mount, another neighbor, returned to the stand. He testified to returning home at about 1:15 a.m. on Nov. 20, 2010, and calling the cops about 15 minutes later because of excessive dog barking outside Peters’ home. Under cross-examination, he said he heard no gunshots.
Officer Candice Jernigan, who interviewed Peters’ sister Monica Peters, testified after Mount. Jernigan testified that Monica said she spoke to Brandi at 10 p.m. on Nov. 19. The state, during cross, got Jernigan to say that Monica was distraught, “shaking” upon learning about these murders.
Ciesly Timmons, who previously testified for the state, said she got close with Brandi Peters in the time leading up to the killings. The defense didn’t completely lose out at Wednesday’s evidentiary hearing because they managed to get Timmons to say that Peters received an apparently threatening letter from Santos. She described it as “weird,” with phrases like “death before dishonor,” and a reference to an angel in heaven.
FBI Agent Patrick Sanford testified about going to Italy to interview Angel Avila-Quinones, a Colombian national deported from the states in 2009, who the defense claims may have been responsible for the murders. Records showed he had not returned to the U.S. after that, Sanford said, but Avila-Quinones was cooperative. The defense got him to say that yes, there would only be a record of him entering the states if he did it legally.
Dr. Jesse De La Cruz, a gang expert, testified next for the defense. As he did during Wednesday’s evidentiary hearing, he said this looked like a cartel killing. De La Cruz cited the brutality involved, and suggested Los Zetas were involved–a spade, their calling card, was found at the scene.
DNA expert Kevin Noppinger was next on the stand. He testified that Avila-Quinones’ DNA was found on a phone cradle at Peters’ home.
John Sawicki, a forensic computer scientist, testified next. The defense is using him to undermine the prosecution’s phone evidence. He laid out how records could be inaccurate about Segura’s alleged location during the time of the murders.
Michael Knox, a forensic consultant, was last on the stand before court recessed for the evening. The defense used him to undermine the state’s crime scene evidence.
Segura’s lawyers expect to finish their case on Friday.
Stay with LawNewz.com and the LawNewz Network for continuing coverage of the case.
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