Jerice Hunter murder trial; key evidence presented in court

The Jerice Hunter murder trial continued Wednesday as key forensic evidence was presented to the jury.

It's evidence that prosecutors say proves Hunter killed her 5-year-old daughter Jhessye Shockley.

Police have not found Jhessye's body, so this evidence is key. The state has to be able to convince the jury that Hunter killed Shockley without a body.

Cadaver dogs proved that a body was in Hunter's apartment.

"That indicated to me that she was smelling a human cadaver scent in that trunk," said MCSO Posseman Dennis Haworth.

Members of MCSO's Search and Rescue Posse were called to the stand Wednesday. Dennis Haworth told the jury that his K-9 "Casey" is trained to detect the scene of a human cadaver. Police had Casey inspect a car owned by Jerice Hunter's neighbor.

"She alerted, (she) barked, indicating that there was something in the trunk. So then it's show me, and she jumps right back up in there and put her nose on the seam, and was trying to get into the trunk," said Haworth.

Police say Hunter killed her 5-year-old daughter and put her body in a duffle bag. That neighbor testified that Hunter asked her for a ride to Tempe, and that Hunter placed a duffle bag in her trunk.

Investigators think Jhessye's body was in that duffle bag. Police say Hunter eventually threw the bag in a Tempe dumpster. K-9 Casey also found the scene of decay in that dumpster too.

"We walked past the first one, went to the second garbage dumpster... she got really interested in the second dumpster, and she wanted to crawl down inside and get into that dumpster," he said.

Haworth said Casey the dog also found the scene of decay on a roll of carpet taken from Hunter's apartment.

"Her demeanor completely changed, she put on the brakes, stopped, her head popped and came around, and came back to that carpet," said Haworth.

A DNA analyst is expected to testify in the trial on Thursday.