Officers Testify at Alleged Road Rage Killing Trial - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Officers Testify at Alleged Road Rage Killing Trial

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The murder trial continues for John Chester Stuart, who is acting as his own attorney in the case. He's accused of killing another driver in a fit of road rage four years ago.

Prosecutors called a handful of Phoenix Police officers to the witness stand Monday, including the officer who pulled over John Chester Stuart after he fled the scene.

Officer James Blanco tells the jury he called for back up, but before it arrived, he says defendant John Chester Stuart got out of his vehicle talking on his cell phone.

"I immediately told him to drop his cell phone, he did comply, I advised him to keep his hands where I could see them and don't move," Officer Blanco recalled.

Stuart says he was on the phone with his attorney at the time. He's representing himself in this second degree murder trial -- and his defense is that the victim, 49-year-old Thomas Beasley, was shot in self defense after that road rage incident in January of 2008.

He says the gun accidentally went off during a struggle between the two. Prosecutors asked Officer Blanco if he noticed any physical marks on Stuart that night.

"I did not see any but I was not looking for them either," he said.

On cross examination, Stuart made sure to point out Blanco was just a rookie cop at the time of the incident, only on the force about 4 months.

"Was that the first homicide you'd ever been involved with?" Stuart asked.

"I've investigated others since, as far as that evening it was the first one."

Stuart drew a handful of objections from prosecutors, including when it came to the topic of gunshot residue collected from his hands.

Also on the stand Monday was a forensics expert with the Phoenix Police department, as well as the first officer who arrived at the crime scene. This trial is expected to last several weeks. Court resumes tomorrow morning.

Follow this story: Trial Begins in 2008 Road Rage Killing

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