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Prosecution Rests in Crowder Trial

A witness testified Tuesday that she saw a girl slumped over in Kenneth Osburn's truck on the evening he allegedly kidnapped and killed 17-year-old Casey Crowder.
HAMBURG, Ark. (AP) - A witness testified Tuesday that she saw a girl slumped over in Kenneth Osburn's truck on the evening he allegedly kidnapped and killed 17-year-old Casey Crowder.

Prosecutors later rested their case in Osburn's capital murder trial after showing jurors videotape of a statement Osburn made to investigators. The defense was expected to begin calling witnesses on Wednesday

In the videotaped interview, Osburn told the officers he had circled Crowder's neck with wire ties in an effort to control her. He said he watched "as she tried to pull the ties off." A medical examiner testified Wednesday that Crowder was strangled with a wire tie.

The girl's parents watched the videotape from the front row of the courtroom as they heard details of the final moments of their daughter's life. However, Melinda Crowder and other family members left the courtroom when jurors were shown images of the scene where the girl's body was found, and of her body.

"It's hard to look at him, but we have to do it," Melinda Crowder said. "I'm here for our daughter. I'm here for my daughter to get justice, and that's what we really hope is going to happen here this week. I truly feels he's guilty."

A medical examiner testified Tuesday that he could not determine if the girl had been sexually assaulted. Osburn has told officers he did not commit any such act.

Osburn family friend Nancy Dunn testified about seeing a girl in Osburn's truck. She said she assumed the girl was Osburn's daughter and that the girl was sleeping. But Dunn said she saw Osburn's daughter at a different location a short time later.

Osburn, 47, is charged in the Aug. 27, 2006, slaying of Casey Crowder of Pine Bluff. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. On Aug. 27, Crowder had called her mother to say her sport-utility vehicle had run out of gas on U.S. 65 near Dumas, while she was returning home from visiting her boyfriend at
Pickens.

Investigators believe Osburn kidnapped Casey as she walked to a gas station, then strangled her. Her body was found in woods several miles from her SUV. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Melinda Crowder testified Monday that her daughter had called twice the morning of Aug. 27, telling her mother not to worry.  Also, prosecutors showed surveillance video from businesses along U.S. 65 that reportedly show Osburn's pickup truck driving in the area where Crowder's SUV was found abandoned.  But Osburn's attorney claimed in opening statements that Osburn had nothing to do with the teen's death.

"There is no doubt that Casey Crowder was a beautiful girl. She did not deserve it, but Kenny didn't do it," said defense lawyer Patrick Benca.  The defense questioned whether proper police investigative tactics were used during the interrogation of Osburn.

The trial in Hamburg is expected to last all week.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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