WATCH LIVE: Pensacola triple murder trial continues with witness testimony

Northwest Florida

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — 3 p.m. — Court is adjourned for Wednesday. The next witness testimony is expected to take two hours. Court will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday.

2:50 p.m. — The state has called witness Brandon Garrison, a former co-worker of John Smith. Smith was a cart pusher at Walmart. Garrison said Smith was friendly and always had a smile on his face. Garrison provided law enforcement surveillance video of the last time John Smith was seen at work.

2:40 p.m. — Two witnesses from the Department of Homeland Security were called by the state. The witnesses testified they took possession of Apple electronics during an investigation for examination. They also took government property located that Smith location. They determined Richard’s employment with the Department of Homeland Security had nothing to do with the motive behind his killing.

1:45 p.m. — The state has called witness Tammy Duncan, who worked with Richard Smith at NAS Pensacola and for the Department of Homeland Security. Duncan describes herself as Richard’s best friend. She says the last time she saw him was Tuesday, July 28, 2015 — the same prosecutors say he was murdered.

Smith, Duncan, and Blatt all went to Sonny’s to eat that day. Duncan says Richard Smith would always get either a hamburger or a pulled pork sandwich and crinkle-cut fries.

Duncan testified she texted Richard at about 8:30 p.m. that night to tell him to say she hoped he had a good day. She got no response and said that was unusual.

She texted him the next day, a day he was scheduled to be off, because there were issues at work. She got no response. She texted him a few other times and got no response. Duncan again stated this was unusual.

Prosecutors then questioned Duncan about whether employees with DHS would wear their lanyards on their days off. She said no. They are not allowed.

Richard was found deceased with his lanyard around his neck that July. Prosecutors are trying to prove Richard, Bonnie and John Smith were killed on July 28, 2015.

NoonBREAK UNTIL 1:30 p.m.

11:45 a.m. — The state has called its ninth witness, David Flatt, who worked with Richard Smith at NAS Pensacola. Richard Smith said he and Donald Hartung did not get along, according to Flatt. Flatt said Richard would also be reluctant to go home on Tuesdays, when Hartung would cook his family dinner at their home.

11:30 a.m. — The state called Florida Department of Law Enforcement employee Rachel Smith. Smith testified that fingerprints found on an envelope inside the Smith home — suspected to be Hartung’s fingerprints –came back as inconclusive.

11:00 a.m. — Misita testified he found a ouija board and Wiccan books inside Hartung’s home during a search warrant. He also found firearm ammunition in the home but no firearms.

10:55 a.m. — The state has called witness Lawrence Misita, a crime scene tech with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. Misita stated when he worked the crime scene in 2015, he found a projectile in the den area of the Deerfield Drive home. It was found near a broken lap in the den area.

10:15 a.m. — The state has called a supervisor, Sergeant Rusty Bjorensen with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, who was in charge of the initial crime scene. He said he took a sink handle as evidence after noticing residue he suspected to be blood.

The defense is currently questioning Bjorensen, asking whether there was a log of people who entered and exited the home. The sergeant said it is typical to have a log like that at crime scenes.

Bjorensen stated that after the crime scene was closed, at least one knife was found in a sofa. The defense asked if this was error. The sergeant stated it was an oversight, not an error.

9:45 a.m. — Hartung defense attorney Michael Griffith is questioning an Escambia County Sheriff’s Office crime scene technician, Lindsey Eliopulos who worked the crime scene following the killings of Bonnie, Richard and John Smith. Assistant State Attorney Bridgette Jenson questioned the tech on Tuesday as court wrapped up for the day.

Eliopulos stated she tested 36 suspected blood spots in the home, but only 23 came back positive for blood. She said the majority of this blood came from the areas in which the bodies were found.

Eliopulos explained to the jury the process of testing this blood. Griffith asked if there was any blood in home’s laundry room, bathroom, formal living room, or Richard’s room. The tech said no.

Eliopulos testified the Department of Homeland Security came the Smith home on Deerfield Drive to conduct a criminal investigation. Richard Smith had worked as a computer scientist with DHS.

9:00 a.m. — The triple murder trial of Donald Hartung will continue Wednesday with more witness testimony. Hartung is accused of killing his mother and two half-brothers in July 2015.

News 5 will bring you continued updates right here throughout the day.


Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Videos

More Video

More Local News

Trending Stories