Jury hears opening statements in trial of man accused of killing 3 in 2008

by: Mark Becker Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Prosecutors painted a graphic picture of three execution-style murders as the trial of a man charged with killing them got underway in Charlotte Monday, six years after the murders, which shook the city.

Justin Hurd could face the death penalty if he is convicted for the murders of Kevin Young, Kinshasa Wagstaff and Jasmine Hines in February 2008.

In his opening statement to jurors, prosecutor Reid Hunt described how all three had been shot and killed execution-style, with their hands tied.  Young's and Wagstaff's throats were also slashed. The killings took place in their home on Patricia Ryan Drive in Charlotte.

Hines's body was found in Huntersville, next to Young's car, and prosecutors say DNA evidence points directly to Hurd as her killer.

"She was on the side of the road, face down in the dirt," Reid Hunt told jurors in his opening statement.

"The only identifiable DNA on that steering wheel was that man right there - Justin Hurd," Hunt said.

But Hurd's attorney told jurors that the DNA evidence isn't conclusive- that it doesn't say when Hurd's DNA was left on the steering wheel.
"They have no direct evidence .... make that very clear," Alan Bowman said in his opening statement.

And he told jurors what they will not see and hear.

“No eyewitness is going to come in here and implicate Mr. Hurd in the murders," Bowman said.

The jury did hear what may have been behind the killings when Wagstaff's father told them he had seen Young with a large suitcase stuffed with drugs.

"It was full of marijuana," Freddie Wagstaff said.