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Defense presents evidence in ex-pastor's murder trial

Posted October 6, 2009

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— Defense attorneys for Robert Reaves presented evidence from six witnesses Tuesday before resting its case to counter prosecutors' claims that the former pastor killed a North Carolina Central University student last year.

Robert Lee Adams Reaves is on trial for the January 2008 death of Latrese Matral Curtis, who was stabbed nearly 40 times and left along Interstate 540 in Raleigh. Her white Nissan Sentra was found nearby.

Closing arguments expected in murder trial Closing arguments expected in murder trial

Prosecutors laid out their case that Reaves killed Curtis in a jealous rage because he viewed her as an obstacle to his sexual advances toward his roommate, Steven Randolph, with whom Curtis had been having sex.

The state rested its case Tuesday morning after five days of testimony.

Amy Kreiss testified on behalf of the defense Tuesday, saying she was headed home along eastbound I-540 around 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 29 and saw a white cargo van and a white four-door Nissan Sentra parked along the road.

The van had been parked there for three days, she said, and the Sentra sped off as her headlights shined upon the car.

Prosecutors presented evidence last week from a state trooper who said he found Reaves' Chrysler Pacifica parked on westbound I-540 the morning of Jan. 30.

An investigator also testified that Randolph told him he saw Reaves' car parked at their Durham home that night.

But DNA evidence was the focus of the defense's case for most of the day with an expert questioning the credibility of a mixture or DNA collected at the crime scene.

"There's a lot of question that goes along with a mixture," Dana Way testified. "That's why they're very, very difficult to interpret."

Reaves did not testify in the case.

Closing arguments are expected Wednesday.

Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty in this case, meaning that Reaves would face life in prison if he is found guilty of first-degree murder.

Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens said Tuesday afternoon that he will allow the jury to consider second-degree murder as well.

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  • needmocash Oct 6, 2009

    hereandnow99: The prosecution is not saying that Reeves car killed Lytreese, they're saying Reeves killed her. What they needed was a witness who placed REEVES at the scene, not 100 people who only could say they saw his car. It's a good thing
    my car didn't run out of gas anywhere near the crime scene - I would have been sitting in there beside Reeves...if seeing a car
    is all they are going on.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Oct 6, 2009

    Did the State Trooper just fabricate the car's description & plate number at the exact spot on I-540 where a body was later found?

    needmocash, is that part of the "Reeves is being railroaded all the way" of which you speak?

    Did Pastor Reeves also have "the deck stacked" against him when the judge threw out some (seemingly irrelevant) prosecution evidence? Do you actually believe what you said?

  • angora2 Oct 6, 2009

    Did anyone see the testimony of the last investigator to take the stand today? He had NONE of his notes, couldn't remember anything, and he was supposed to be the lead investigator. He also admitted that DNA was not collected from Reaves' stash of swords and knives. Or from the shoes that were found in his car.

  • needmocash Oct 6, 2009

    Wow - Reeves is being railroaded all the way. First the prosecution tries to introduce evidence of Reeves Homosexuality that has no bearing on the case. An obvious attempt to prejudice the jury. Thankfully, the judge did not admit it. Second, the local media gave a blow by blow account (live feed) of the prosecutions case, but the defense of Reeves is blacked out and we see nothing. Sorry dude, the deck is stacked and you're gonna fry.

  • atlpeach Oct 6, 2009

    The case is very weird. A lot of unanswered questions. Person doesn't have to be present for their tags to be ran, car/plates do. He may have been in the act when he abandoned his car. 540 isn't a very busy hwy. late at night & on weekday. He could've killed her in the surrounding wooded area & threw the body where it was found. There are inconsistencies in his alibi. He sd he never left the house on that day, then sd he was at church. Curious to know how he got her to pull over also & if she knew anything about the interest he had in her sex partner. If I'm not mistaken, someone from church sd that he wasn't there.

  • Real Oct 6, 2009

    Why doesn't he want to testify? I would be trying to clear my name. And i can't wait to find out what the letter from the inmate is going to say. Will it be entered as evidence?

  • ANGELLUV Oct 6, 2009

    Based on the fact that pastors do wrong, it is just evident that he is guilty. Where is it in the bible that pastors (or any men) have to have sexual favors from the same sex in order to enter the Kingdom of God! Don't put your trust in man, put it all in God!!!!!!!

  • mys1983 Oct 6, 2009

    Just a few questions...not saying he is guilty or innocent...but: how did her force her to pull over? how was he able to stab her 40 times and know one see this happening on I-540? How was it that he laid her body on the side of the road and no one saw him doing this? then he abandons his car? no on sees him walking, I mean where did he go? it just seems like some info is missing here? I hope all these questions get answered before this guy is or isn't sentenced.

  • jackaroo2 Oct 6, 2009

    I am so bored with these "pastors" doing bad things. I have yet to see what divinity school he graduated from.

  • hoopster Oct 6, 2009

    How did the trooper run the license plates if he was not there. There was testimony that he said he did loan his car to anyone!!! Go figure!

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