Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Terrence Black trial: Murdered woman’s boyfriend was in Burleson the morning Susan Loper’s body was found in Frisco
A detective testified that it may have been possible that Terrance Black was cyberstalking Susan Loper.
Quick recap of Day Six:
Susan Loper had an abortion in early 2009. Terrance Black was disappointed, Loper's friends said, but felt confident Loper and he would have a baby in the future.
An ex-girlfriend of Black's said she had an abortion when she became pregnant with Black's child in the late 1990s. She said he was not upset after she had the procedure.
Electronic records show that Jayson Hayes, Loper's boyfriend at the time of her death, was in Burleson at 8:02 a.m. the morning Loper was killed. (She was killed around 6 a.m. and her body was dumped around 6:17 a.m.) This could be a blow to the defense, since it has been trying to paint Hayes as an alternate suspect in the case.
9:40 a.m. Day Six:
Week two of the Black murder trial began Monday morning in Collin County. Black, 50, is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, Loper. Loper was abducted and killed from the Pilates studio she operated at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano. Both Loper and Black were Frisco residents.
Plano PD Detective Chris Pyryt is first up on the stand on Day Six. He is testifying about data recovered from two lap tops and several thumb drives recovered from Black's Cadillac Escalade.
Detective Pyryt testified that he recovered an email from Loper to her friend Gidget Anthony discussing business topics including employee contracts and employee insurance. Pyryt said the email was not meant for Black.
Earlier in the trial a separate forensics expert testified that Black hacked into Loper's Yahoo! email account and accessed her email in the days immediately preceding her death.
Pyryt also testified that he found the remnants of a file named "Whore Status," on Black's computers. While he could not recover the contents of the word document, he did locate a photo entitled whore.jpg. The image is a photo of Loper and an unidentified male and was originally saved in a folder on Black's laptop called SLHO. The photo was saved on Black's computer on Valentine's Day 2011.
Black used InPrivate Browsing, a feature that can help hide Internet searches and page visits, on Internet Explorer, Pyryt testified. The sites visited using the private browsing include Loper's Yahoo! account, as well as her Facebook account. Pyryt also said it may have been possible that Black was cyberstalking Loper. It has been established that Loper very rarely, if ever, changed her passwords, a habit Pyryt would have made her an easy victim for a cyberstalker.
The court is at its morning recess. Detective Pyryt is finished testifying. Under cross-examination he testified the map of Gleneagles Country Club, he told the jury he located Black's computer was last accessed several years before Loper's murder, possibly as far back as 2008 when Black and Loper were dating. He also testified that he found evidence that Black had been to the Grand Canyon before April 2011 and that he had done research about visiting the park multiple times, including more than a year before the murder.
Julie Mitchell, a friend of Loper's since she was a high school student in Wichita Falls, testified about how she introduced Loper to Black in early to mid Spring 2006.
One of the biggest bombshells during Mitchell's testimony dealt with an abortion Loper underwent during early 2009. She said Black was 100 percent sure the child was his, and that "he was very upset" when he found out since he wanted to have a child with Loper.
When Black and Loper began dating, Loper was still married, Mitchell testified. She added that Black didn't learn that she was still married until about three months into the relationship.
"It wasn't my place to tell him," Mitchell said, adding that Black was upset when he learned Loper was still married and asked for her advice on how to deal with the situation.
She added the two dated on and off until 2009, at which time they broke up for good. She said when Loper and Black were not dating, he would stalk her.
"We couldn't do anything without him calling her a million times or showing up," Mitchell told the jury.
Mitchell also testified that when Loper and Black went out either by themselves or with a group, Black would always drive his Cadillac Escalade. She said she couldn't remember ever seeing Black driving Loper's car, which is important because his DNA was found inside her vehicle after she was abducted.
When she first learned Loper was missing, Mitchell said she felt that Black may have been involved and that she mentioned his name to police. She said she didn't fear the worst, but thought Black may have forced Loper to go with him so that he could try and convince her to take him back. Mitchell said she didn't feel there was any way Loper would enter into another romantic relationship with Black.
Prior to Mitchell's testimony, Leah Hall Price took the stand. She was an ex-girlfriend of Black's from the late 1990s when Black lived in Georgia. She spoke to Black on the phone the night before the murder, at which time he spoke about Loper.
"He said he had been dating others but [Susan] was the one who had his heart," she said, adding that he seemed normal and sincere on the phone. "It was hard to find someone who measured up to her."
Judge John Roach will not allow Craig Loper to testify about a fight between himself and Black that occurred in December 2008.
With the jury not present, Craig told the judge that he and Susan were watching a movie when Black came to Susan's house. When Black got angry, he told Craig they should wake up Jake -- Susan and Craig's son -- to see if Jake loved Craig or Black the most. When Black refused to leave the house and attempted to walk toward Jake's room, Craig testified that he headbutted Black and then kicked him when he was on the ground. Black then left shortly before 911 was called.
Defense attorneys objected to the testimony, saying it should not be allowed. Judge Roach bought their argument and said when Craig testifies, no mention of the fight will be allowed.
The afternoon has been fairly slow and uneventful on Day Six of the Black trial.
Craig Loper took the stand after a mid-afternoon recess and testified that he still loved Susan even after their divorce. He said the travel involved with his job caused him to be away for up to 22 days a month, which caused friction in the relationship and eventually led to their eventual divorce.
Even after the divorce, the relationship was still friendly and the two saw each other at least once a week, and spent time together around the holidays for the benefit of their son, Jake. Craig said he logged onto her email account and found an email stating she was dating Black, an incident that made him begin to consider divorcing Susan.
Black's ex-girlfriend, Leah Hall Price, was also called back to the stand. Under questioning from the the defense, she stated she had become pregnant while dating Black in the late 1990s and had an abortion. She said Black was not angry and didn't threaten her over getting the abortion. This is important because part of the motive the prosecution is attempting to present to the jury is that Black was angry that Susan got an abortion in 2009.
While the afternoon started slow, it ended with a big development.
Starting with their opening statements, defense attorneys have been pointing the finger at Hayes, Loper's boyfriend at the time of her death. They have accused Plano detectives of "tunnel vision" when they settled on Black early in the case.
Until today, Hayes' whereabouts the morning of the murder were unknown. However, that is no longer the case.
Melissa Shields, Hayes' supervisor at the pharmaceutical sales company he works at, testified that Hayes was in Burleson at the office of Dr. Burlyn Nelon at 8:02 the morning Loper was abducted. She has sales records to back up her claim.
A quick recap of past testimony and TollTag data shows that police believe Loper was abducted from Gleneagles around 6 a.m. and that her body was dumped in a Frisco field around 6:17 a.m. The car was then "off the grid" until 6:36 a.m. when it re-entered the Dallas North Tollway. The car was last spotted registered on the DNT at 6:40 a.m.
Shields' testimony casts a lot of doubt on the defense's theory that Hayes was somehow involved in Loper's murder.
Testimony will resume at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. DNA experts are expected to be called, and the prosecution said it could rest Tuesday afternoon. There is no estimation on when the trial could go to the jury.
Pegasus News Content partner - Star Local News
See more stories in:
- Theater review: A Little Night Music captivates audiences with the subtly of human emotion
- Counselors who resigned from Plano middle school reached settlement
- Parents of Plano middle school students may petition district over abrupt resignation of three counselors
- Theatre review: PFamily Arts presents a rich On Golden Pond
- UPDATED: See resignation letters from three Plano middle school counselors who abruptly quit