Defendant to take stand in murder trial
by By Jessica Loeding,
Nov 29, 2013 | 800 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As testimony wrapped up on the third day of Herbert Drews’ trial, the man accused of stabbing his former roommate confirmed he would take the stand.

Drews, who will testify today, is charged with eight counts, including felony murder and malice murder, in the Feb. 5, 2012, stabbing that killed James David Ayers, 70.

Testimony this week in Superior Court Judge Carey Nelson’s courtroom shows Drews moved out of the 1834-B Joe Frank Harris Parkway residence Dec. 8, 2011. He returned the evening of the attack to retrieve his dog and a jacket.

Six people — four men and two women — were home at the time of the incident. One male witness died early this year and a second male witness who was involved in a struggle with Drews cannot be located, prosecutors said.

Testimony on Wednesday came from medical personnel who treated Ayers, Drews and Troyce Warren, who was injured in an alleged assault by Drews after Ayers had been stabbed. Bartow County Sheriff’s Office deputies also took the stand.

Deputy Eddie Leon testified that he photographed the scene, describing photos of blood along the walls, floors, doors and drops on the ceiling.

When asked about the alleged murder weapon from an evidence photo, Leon said he believed it to be a belt buckle knife based on to the broken ends and what appeared to be a belt tongue.

Leon testified that he observed Drews to be wearing a belt with what appeared to be a broken buckle while the man was being treated by emergency medical personnel. The belt was not recovered as evidence, although a photo was taken.

Defense attorney James Wyatt asked Leon about Drews’ condition that night. Drews allegedly stabbed Ayers and then confronted Warren in his bedroom where the two struggled until police arrived. Warren testified Tuesday that he beat Drews with anything he could reach, including an ashtray, out of fear for his safety.

Leon said Drews, who smelled heavily of alcohol, appeared to be conscious and was moaning, but the two did not speak. He said Drews’ demeanor was consistent with someone who had been beaten badly.

The state Wednesday afternoon rested its case, allowing the defense to call two witnesses.

At the close of the day, Drews confirmed to Nelson he would testify in his own defense and is expected to take the stand today.

He also declined to have the jury instructed on voluntary manslaughter, saying, “It’s all or nothing.” The jury, which should begin deliberations today, will be charged only on the eight counts Drews faces, not to include the lesser manslaughter option.

Court will resume at 8:15 a.m. today in courtroom C at the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center.