MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Testimony began Monday in the triple murder case against Justin Hurd. He's charged with killing Kevin Young, Kinshasha Wagstaff and Jasmine Hines in February of 2008.
Opening statements revealed Justin Hurd's DNA was found at both crime scenes. Prosecutors say Justin Hurd and Nate Sanders planned to kill three people in February of 2008. They say Sanders was on surveillance cameras at two different convenient stores the night before, buying supplies to clean up.
“He bought gasoline, gas cans, gloves, trash bags, lighters. The purpose of this was so that he could cover his tracks, he and Justin Hurd, so that they would never get caught,” said prosecutor Reid Hunt.
Prosecutors say Kevin Young and Kinshasha Wagstaff were found inside what was left of a burned home on Patricia Ryan Drive. Both had their hands tied behind them, their throats slashed and their bodies badly burned. Young had also been shot in the chest.
The third victim, Jasmine Hines, was found in a wooded area in Huntersville soaked in gasoline and shot once in the back and once in the head.
“That man right there, Justin Hurd's DNA was at both crime scenes,” said Hunt.
Months into the investigation, Sanders was found murdered in Cincinnati.
“My client is presumed to be innocent of each and every one of the charges,” said defense attorney Alan Bowman.
The defense says there are no witnesses that saw Hurd commit the murders, and DNA has no time stamp or explanation of circumstances.
They also reminded jurors the burden of proof is on the prosecution.
“They will be unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Hurd participated in any crime,” said Bowman.
The first witness, who was a little reluctant to testify, says he knew Hurd as “Castro” and that Jasmine Hines and Nate Sanders were dating. He also saw Sanders and Hurd together in Atlanta just days before the murders.
Justin Hurd could face the death penalty if convicted.