Prosecution rests in E.C. Blair murder trial

Update: defense rests, closing arguments heard Thursday

The Elton "E.C." Blair murder trial should come to an end sometime this week after the prosecution rested its case Monday afternoon.

Ninetieth District Attorney Dee Peavy rested the state’s case Monday following the testimony of Jim Reeves, a former investigator with the Graham Police Department, concluding a process that began Sept. 19.

Although the prosecution has wrapped up its case, the defense is expected to continue presenting witnesses through Tuesday.

Blair nearly had his $1 million bond revoked following Monday’s testimony  after several witness testified he had been in contact with them despite receiving a non-contact court order following his indictment. 

Peavy noted how the testimonies of various witnesses had changed since they previously spoke to police. One of those came from the defendant’s niece, Stacye Pinkston.

“He’s thumbing his nose at the court that specifically told him not to be around these witnesses ... No contact means no contact,” Peavy said.

Pinkston originally told investigators about a conversation she had with Blair regarding his wife’s alleged affair with a man in 2014. In her original statement she said Blair told her he could have the man “dealt with,” and that he said he had ways of doing it. Blair also said Ross Hellams, an alleged accomplice in the Leah Martin murder, would help him, but Monday Pinkston testified her conversation was between she and Lisa Blair, the defendant’s wife.

Another witness, Mario Espinoza,  also told investigators he spoke with Blair two weeks ago and that Blair was aware  he was a witness in the trial. Espinoza said Blair also sought him out at an auto repair shop in Graham. 

Defense Attorney David Wimberley argued revoking Blair’s bond would dramatically impact the trial just days before the defense rests its case. Judge Stephen Bristow agreed, despite noticing some inconsistencies with witnesses, ruling  he didn’t think revoking his bond this late in the trial would change matters. Bristow once again ordered Blair must not have contact with witnesses unless Wimberley is present.

Robin McCauley, Martin’s cousin, was also called to the stand Monday. She said Blair and his wife Lisa are her godparents, and her father and Blair had been best friends since high school. She said family members close to the Martins had spearheaded a search effort and distributed fliers the day after Leah was reported missing. The headquarters at the Gateway Inn in Graham, which remained open until Leah’s body was found. 

Blair would stopped by there a few times, she said. In one instance, Blair, his son Aaron Blair (the father of Martin’s daughter), and Pinkston’s mother searched for Leah on country road near Graham. McCauley said when her mom and Aaron would get out of the vehicle,  Blair asked her how many sexual partners Leah had had. She later asked him why he needed to know,  he responded that he and Aaron were talking about it and he was just curious. 

She said Blair never seemed upset, but did have a nervous tic and was constantly running a red rag through his fingers.

The Breckenridge American will provide additional information regarding the trial in the Oct. 11 edition.

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