The testimony in the trial of a Manchester man accused of murdering his 81-year-old aunt got underway yesterday afternoon in Coffee County Circuit Court.
Jeffery Smithson is accused of the murder of Virginia White last August in her Ingram Apartments in Manchester. Investigators allege that Smithson struck Ms White in the face then struck her in the back of the head with an object and then tied panty hose around her neck. Prosecution and defense attorneys spent Monday and Tuesday interviewing prospective jurors in the case. Coffee County Circuit Court Judge stated in court that Assistant District Attorney Marla Holloway and defense attorney Margo Kilgore had questioned some 70 jurors and narrowed the list down to 40 by Tuesday at noon. After returning from lunch the attorneys then narrowed the list down to 12 regular jurors and 2 alternates. Testimony started late yesterday afternoon. The first witness was Manchester Police Investigator Butch Stewart. He was the original investigator on the scene and he described what he found in the apartment. Coffee County District Attorney Mickey Layne is also taking part in the prosecution of Smithson. While Kevin Askren is co-defense counsel in the case. Testimony will continue again today in Coffee County Circuit Court.