Prosecution Rests in Netherland Trial

By: Rae Chelle Davis Email
By: Rae Chelle Davis Email

Less than ten people sat in Judge Wilson's courtroom Monday morning to watch the trial of Theodore Netherland. Promptly at 9:00 Judge Wilson sat at her bench and the trial continued.

Detective Bryan Wheeles took the stand. The prosecution's witness described how he became involved in the case. He said he went to interview Theodore Netherland without prior knowledge of the case so that he could not prompt Netherland to say anything. Wheeles said Netherland called him back after he left his card at his apartment complex. Wheeles and another detective went to his apartment where Netherland agreed to go with them and look at some residences where he used to live.

The jury was shown two videos. The first was of a conversation at the Law Enforcement Center's "soft room" where Netherland confessed to stabbing a woman outside of a community center in October of 1989. The second was of Netherland with detectives at the community center where he showed them the door he was standing at when he said he stabbed Estes and then demonstrated to detectives the motions he used.

He said on the tape that he was on the side of the building and that Estes was going into the building when he jabbed her with a knife. "The voices seem to make me do that," Netherland told detectives.

Netherland told them he then ran back to his parents house. He said he did not know what he did with the knife but he thought he threw it away.

Then Netherland told detectives that he told his nephew Terry Wilkins about the incident. He said he did not remember showing him the knife.

Netherland told detectives he found the knife in the hallway closet of his parents home where he was living. He said it was on the shelf inside a box and it belonged to his brother Maurice. Netherland said the voices were bothering him so much that he went to the closet to get the knife. Netherland describes "jabbing" Estes several times to detectives on the tape.

Another interesting event in the trial occurred after lunch. The prosecution attempted to admit a photograph of Netherland published in the 1987 Highland Park High School yearbook. The photo was the same as the one identified by a prosecution witness out of a line up. The witness said she was 60% sure that was the man she saw outside of the community center that night. After several objections by the defense the photo was finally allowed to be admitted but it was never shown to the jury. In fact, that is when the Prosecution rested.

The defense will have their opportunity to respond Tuesday morning at 9:00.


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