Victim’s family leaves courtroom as photos shown during murder trial
COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The mother of a 26-year-old woman whose body was found in the woods weeks after her disappearance, left the courtroom as the prosecution began show pictures of the crime scene.
It is the first day of trial for Nathan Tyler Jr., 45, one of the three people charged with the murder of Alicia Deans.
Multiple Brunswick County deputies, a detective, and Deans’ mother Shelia Deans took the stand Wednesday afternoon. A former Columbus County law enforcement officer who took crime scene photos also took the stand.
Several photos of the area around John Coleman Road, where Deans was found, were passed around to the jury.
The former officer on the stand described finding shoe strings prior to smelling, and then finding Deans’ body in the woods. Pictures of Deans’ body were then shown to the courtroom. One picture included a photo of her tattooed wrist, which is how Deans was identified.
Michael Williams and Kayla Turner are also charged with murder, robbery and kidnapping in connection to Deans’ murder.
Turner and Williams lived together at the time of the murder and lived two houses down from Tyler’s son, who is Deans’ ex, Turner testified.
Earlier on the stand, a detective testified call logs showed Turner called Deans the morning before she was killed.
Turner said she knew Deans from church. Turner claimed Tyler wanted to use Deans’ car and wanted to tie Deans up and leave her in an abandoned house until they were done with it.
Turner told the court that Tyler made her call Deans and tell her that her ex, who is Tyler’s son, wanted her back and to come meet up with them.
Turner testified that Tyler wanted the car to kidnap his ex and keep her from going to court against him, because she had information that could put Tyler away for life.
Turner said Tyler staged a robbery to do just that but she did not know it would be taken so far. Turner testified that she and Deans met up and were discussing Turner’s possible pregnancy when Michael Williams, Turner’s boyfriend at the time, entered the kitchen with a gun and his face covered yelling for the women to get on the ground.
Williams demanded money from Deans, she said she did not have any then after time gave in. After that Williams then told Turner to tie Deans up. After Deans was tied up Williams played along and tied Turner up. Then Tyler came in as planned, Williams ordered him to re-tie the women’s hand with shoe laces and then covered their heads with sheets. That is when they all got into Deans’ car, Deans was placed in the trunk.
Once they were in Deans’ car, Williams cut the laces off Turner’s hands and they drove Williams home. Once William was dropped off Turner said she felt like they were driving in circles until they ended up in the woods. Turner testified she watched from the car as Tyler opened the trunk and walked Deans away from the car into the wooded area.
Turner said she heard what sounded like gunshots shortly after.
“I asked him where Alicia was,” Turner said. “He said she was gone.”
When Turner said she did not believe him she said Tyler offered to show her the body. Turner said she refused then called Williams to tell him what happened and he did not believe the news either.
It was an elaborate plan that Deans’ mother still does not understand.
“I want the truth so I can have closure,” Sheila Deans said. “And know what exactly happened. That’s what I want. And then whoever is responsible I want them to pay because she never gets to see her children again. It’s affected our family in big ways. She was the youngest.”
Williams, the third person charged in this case, pleaded guilty Monday and will also testify against Tyler.
The trial will resume Thursday, it is expected to last at least a week.
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