CADIZ – Opening statements were made in the Matthew Dowdel murder trial, Tuesday afternoon by Harrison County Prosecutor, Owen Beetham and Defense Attorney, Aaron Miller.
“We’re here today because Matthew Dowdel is a murderer,” Beetham stated in the first sentence of his opening statement. He stressed several times how Dowdel and one-time co-defendant, Eve Kelley were “step by step and side by side,” linking the two in every move they made the night of March 27, 2014.
Miller countered with the fact that Kelley had already admitted guilt and that she had committed the crime, which Miller implied was the only murderer. Miller banged his hand loudly against the podium several times accentuating the hits Kelley admitted giving to victim, Joseph Strother.
Miller, though, stating that the jury may here some concessions such as drug abuse by his client and that they might not like him but the one conviction the prosecution would not get would be of murder.
Miller used the tactic of driving at the victim and his family stating that this wasn’t about the “happy all-American family,” referring to the Strother.
Witnesses were called next beginning with the son of the victim, Anthony Paul Strother, followed by Joseph’s wife, Tami who provided an assured and unemotional testimony.
The third witness was Susan Raymond, who was one of the joggers at Sally Buffalo Park who discovered the body and called 911.
The final two witnesses were Special Agent for Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Joshua Durst and Derek Cronc, whom Dowdel and Kelley had visited on the night of March 28 of last year.
Durst took the stand for over an hour while Beetham grilled him on many exhibits from the park and several disturbing photographs of the victim, which brought crying from what were presumed to be several family members and friends of the victim, in the gallery. At one time, Durst, after placing protective blue gloves on his hands, opened an evidence bag displaying the murder weapon, a rolling pin from the Strother’s kitchen that Kelley had taken the night of the murder where they had visited briefly.
Continuing after the lunch break, surprisingly, juror #11 had been excused leaving the jury with only one alternate. Both the prosecution and the defense, though, were satisfied with that situation.
The trial resumes Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.