Murder trial hears testimony
by Jessica Loeding
Nov 19, 2013 | 1553 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bartow County Superior Court Judge Carey Nelson denied Monday Herbert Eberhardt Drews’ request to serve as co-counsel for his trial.

Drews is accused in the Feb. 5, 2012, stabbing of James David Ayers, 70, at Ayers’ 1834-B Joe Frank Harris Parkway residence. Ayers later died as a result of complications from the stabbing. Drews faces multiple charges, including malice murder and felony murder.

“This case is about one of the bloodiest scenes in this county,” prosecutor Erle Newton said in opening statements. “... This case is about justice for Mr. Ayers — he went by Lucky.”

Drews had lived at the Cartersville residence until December 2011, when an alleged falling out resulted in the defendant moving. He returned about 10:30 p.m. that Sunday night to retrieve a dog and jacket, Newton said.

The prosecution said Drews argued with Ayers prior to stabbing the man with a knife concealed within a belt buckle. According to Newton’s opening, Ayers was stabbed nine times — once in the face, twice in the front of the neck, once in the back of the neck, twice in the right front shoulder and three times in the back of the shoulder.

An intoxicated Drews then went to another room at the residence where the occupants saw the defendant with a knife in his hand, which was covered in blood, the prosecution said.

Allegedly Drews told the two occupants that “Lucky is dead” and they had killed him, Newton said. The male occupant then grabbed Drews’ right hand, but Drews twisted free and stabbed the man in his shoulder and leg.

“At that point, the fight was on,” Newton stated.

A fight ensued between the two into the living room area where the occupant and another resident were able to hold Drews down until authorities arrived.

Newton said Ayers, who was “not in the prime of health,” lost so much blood his heart and brain were affected, leading to a series of strokes before passing away at Floyd Medical Center. Ayers died before investigators were able to speak with him.

Defense attorney James Wyatt said Drews returned Feb. 5, 2012, to get the dog and jacket but encountered an altercation inside.

“He is pretty well attacked — not just superficial wounds, he is ... severely beaten,” Wyatt said in his opening.

The defense said $1,500 was taken and the gun used to pistol-whip Drews disappeared although the defendant never left the residence. Wyatt said a female resident left to remove the money and gun instead of to avoid probation revocation as the prosecution maintained.

Wyatt said Drews has no memory of the series of events because he was beaten so severely.

“What happened? We can’t say exactly what happened,” the defense attorney said, although it’s possible residents cleaned up and altered the scene.

Jurors heard from Jamie Gatlin, a witness, Monday afternoon for over an hour.

Gatlin testified she went to her room about 10 p.m. that night and exited after hearing Drews in a heated encounter.

Drews was pacing in the doorway to Ayers’ room, Gatlin said, so she returned to her room. Within minutes, a male occupant of the home knocked, saying Drews was fighting with another resident.

Gatlin testified she went to check on Ayers and found him sitting on his bed, arms resting on his knees, covered in blood. The female resident who had encountered Drews when he approached them with a knife was using towels to attempt to stop the bleeding, Gatlin said.

Ayers told Gatlin to call 911, she testified. She then retrieved her cellphone from her room, seeing Drews and the two male occupants fighting in the living room. The woman testified she never saw a knife in the struggle, although she did say she saw a bloody knife removed from a trash can later.

After returning to Ayers’ room and speaking with 911, Gatlin exited the residence to help direct emergency personnel to the scene.

Testimony will resume this morning at 9 in courtroom C at the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center.