Defense witnesses in the trial of accused murderer Billy D. Smith were expected to begin testifying today in Superior Court in Anchorage.
State prosecutors called their last of 13 witnesses Tuesday. Ten of those witnesses had testified previously in September in Kenai before a mistrial was declared and the trial was moved to Anchorage.
Smith is on trial for the March 27, 1994, murders of Harold Enzler, 36, of Nikiski, and Nancy Bellamy, 42, of Homer. He also is charged with three counts of tampering with physical evidence, namely the bodies of the victims and the truck in which the couple was killed. The bodies were never found.
The earlier trial began in Kenai with opening arguments Sept. 19. At the time, assistant district attorney John Wolfe told the jury Smith had confessed to shooting Enzler and Bellamy to death, dismembering their bodies and dumping them in Cook Inlet.
Defense attorney Robert Herz then told jurors that Smith, who was in jail on unrelated charges in 1997, confessed to the crime, thinking that by doing so he would be able to get out of jail and get a much needed heroin fix.
State witnesses began telling of a child custody battle over then 3-year-old Francis Enzler, the son of Harold and Michelle Enzler, who were getting a divorce.
Witnesses also told of heavy drinking and drug abuse at the time and testified to finding parts of Enzler's truck dumped in various locations around the Kenai Peninsula.
The estimated three to four-week trial was halted by Judge Jonathan Link Sept. 27, when one witness testified he had taken a lie-detector test as part of a plea arrangement to reduce charges relating to his own involvement in the crime.
Polygraph test results are not admissible as evidence in Alaska, and the defense attorney argued that when the witness said he agreed to taking the test and was later given a deal, he led jurors to believe what he said.
Herz said jurors believed if a person took a lie detector test and passed, the person was a truthful person.
His planned defense, he said, had been to undermine the reliability of the witness' testimony as well as the testimony of other state witnesses.
The new trial began in Anchorage with jury selection Oct. 1. Closing arguments are expected to begin Monday.
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