JONESBORO — The first-degree murder trial of Rhatez Demore Furlow, 32, continued Wednesday with the then-leader of the crime scene investigation team and lead detection testifying.
Retired Sgt. Chris Cole told jurors about the apartment where Kafena Russell, 37, and her brother, Johnny Russell, 38, were found shot to death on June 18, 2019, in the 400 block of Melrose Street.
Their bodies were found in the apartment they shared with Furlow.
Cole said a knife was found in the bushes just outside the front door of the apartment.
During his investigation, Cole said 12 Luger 9 mm shell casings were found in the apartment.
The shell casings and bullets found at the crime scene were carefully bagged and sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for processing, Cole said.
After detectives were told where the gun was located by Furlow, Cole said he and several officers went to a vacant, overgrow lot nearby to search for the weapon. He said two metal detectors were used during the search, but no gun was found.
Defense attorney Bobby Digby, of Benton, questioned Cole about the crime scene. Cole said it was secured.
Lead Detective Shane Fox testified that when he entered the apartment after the initial crime scene investigation was concluded, he found two deceased adults dead from gunshot wounds.
Fox said he collected the knife that was found outside and secured it. He said the knife was not sent to the State Crime Lab because there was no evidence linking it to the crime.
Fox said Furlow was found to be at the Marked Tree Police Department, and he and then-Investigator Vic Brooks went there to question Furlow.
“His first comment was, ‘What did they say it did,’” Fox said. “I asked him details about the last time he was there.”
He said Furlow became visibly upset when he told him the Russells had been shot.
Fox said Furlow told him he and Kafena Russell had been arguing a lot recently and when he showed up at the apartment on the night of June 17 she followed him upstairs nagging him.
Furlow said she followed him downstairs a little later.
He said he doesn’t remember the shooting, that he just remembered seeing legs.
Gina Marano Knight and Martin Lilly are representing the state while Bobby R. Digby II and Alexander C. Denker of the Digby Law Firm in Benton are representing Furlow.
The trial resumes at 9 a.m. today in the third-floor courtroom at the Craighead County Circuit Courthouse before Judge Randy Philhours.