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Prosecution rests in murder trial, defense witnesses continue tomorrow

SALEM – The prosecution completed its evidence today after putting 10 witnesses on the stand in the first-degree murder trial involving two roommates and best friends.

Twenty-five-year old Samuel Lucas Hale’s defense team plans to call additional witnesses when the trial resumes at 9 a.m. tomorrow, Oct. 28, in Salem Circuit Court. The trial is scheduled to last through Friday.

Hale is accused of fatally stabbing 25-year-old Joshua Louis McCoy in the early morning hours in the apartment they shared at Glenmary Apartments off Main Street in Salem. The two grew up together and went all through school in Roanoke. They worked together at Roanoke Glass, McCoy’s family business.

Hale had to leave the courtroom suddenly midway through the morning after apparently becoming sick while viewing 3-foot blowups of McCoy’s autopsy photographs. He returned a few minutes later from the courthouse lockup cells and the trial continued.

The 24 post-mortem photographs shown to the jury gave close up views of McCoy and the stab wound in the left side of his neck. Assistant Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Paul Benson testified the cause of death was stabbing. In a photo of the dissection of McCoy’s body, Benson pointed out a trajectory rod that traced the route of a knife cut completely through the trachea and into the upper part of the right lung.

Hale initially told the 911 dispatcher and the first Salem Police officers who interviewed him that his friend had fallen into the kitchen window, and been cut by a piece of glass.

Hale later changed his story several times. He said he used a steak knife to dig out the shard of glass, and finally, after learning McCoy had died, confessed he got the knife out of the kitchen to defend himself. He and his attorney, Tony Anderson, contend McCoy’s injuries were accidental.

The case ended two hours early today. One scheduled defense witness could not be found in the courthouse, another was grounded on his way from New York because of the big storm in that area, and there were technical difficulties showing a planned video and still photos. The video appeared to be from one of the restaurants where McCoy and Hale had been drinking earlier on Jan. 16.

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