Wright takes the stand in his own defense - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Wright takes the stand in his own defense


DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- The double stabbing trial of Jerel Wright continued Thursday in Dubuque with Wright taking the stand in his own defense. The prosecution rested and the defense began its case. Wright is accused of the murder of Jermaris West and the attempted murder of Derrick Tye last Labor Day weekend.

Throughout the trial, several witnesses described seeing Jerel Wright standing over Derrick Tye, stabbing him in the back and head, the knife breaking off. But no one saw Wright stab Jermaris West, the man who died.

"Stab wound of the chest was the cause of death," State Medical Examiner Dr. Michele Catellier said of West's death.

For the state's murder case, that's where evidence from the state crime lab comes in.

"That would be a possible weapon that could have inflicted the injuries in Mr. West," Catellier said.

That weapon she refers to: The broken knife with a five inch blade, four inch handle. When criminalists tested the blood found on the tip of the knife for DNA evidence.

"A mixture of DNA from more than one person, from two contributors," Criminalist Kristan Evans said. Assistant County Attorney Chris Corken asked,"Who were the two contributors?" Evans said, "Jermaris West and Derrick Tye."

Following test results on the knife, the prosecution rested midday.

The defense decided not to deliver an opening statement, and began calling witnesses, starting with LaToya Burns, a woman who witnessed a fight between Tye and Wright the night before the double stabbing.

Next, the defendant himself took the stand.

"What's your name?" his attorney asked. "Jerel Wright."

"How old are you?" He said, "I'm 19 now."

Wright didn't get farther than basic questions as the courtroom had technical problems. After just a few short minutes on the stand, court adjourned with Wright waiting for another day to tell his side of the story.

The trial will pick back up Friday morning at 8:30 with Jerel Wright again taking the stand. The jury is expected to begin its deliberation Friday afternoon.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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