Triple murder suspect goes on trial for his life - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Triple murder suspect goes on trial for his life

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

35-year-old Justin Hurd walked into court Tuesday morning on the first day of his capital murder trial in a trim, navy blue sports coat and khaki pants. The leg brace and shackles he wore underneath were not visible.

Hurd looked like someone dressed for a job interview, not someone accused of killing three people and burning down a northwest Charlotte house.

Prosecutors will argue the clean-cut man sitting in court is the same person who killed Kevin Ashley Young, his girlfriend, Kinshasha Wagstaff, and her niece, Jasmine Hines in 2008.

The bodies of Young, 33, and Wagstaff, 34, were found in the burned out remains of her home on Patricia Ryan Drive. The body of Hines, 18, was found on the side of the road by a passer-by in Huntersville.

The crime became known as one of Charlotte's most notorious and gruesome killings. It's also been one of the most mysterious. The house was a blazing inferno when WBTV arrived on the scene in 2008. Initially, it wasn't known that two people were inside.

The investigation later revealed Young had been shot and someone slit his throat. Wagstaff was stabbed and Hines had been shot.

Police said two 911 calls from a cell phone came from the house that night. In one call, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police said an officer responded, but found no evidence of trouble. The other call could not be traced at the time.

Investigators have never released the motive or method of the killers. CMPD said they connected 20-year-old Nathaniel Sanders to the crime in 2009, but Sanders had already been murdered out-of-state in 2008.

The first day of pre-trial motions and jury selection revealed more details about the case than have ever been publicly released.

Police said early on in the case, they believed the house was targeted for a reason, but never gave specifics. The crime sparked a nationwide search for suspects. The television show, America's Most Wanted, featured the case.

Hurd was arrested in 2009 and extradited to Charlotte from Ohio.

One of Hurd's defense attorneys said a potential witness was expected to testify about a trip to Charlotte relating to marijuana and requested that testimony be limited. Judge Robert Ervin denied the request.

The defense attorney also wanted to limit testimony from two jailhouse informants who said they shared a conversation with Hurd about the crime. Judge Ervin denied that request, too.

Attorneys for Hurd also revealed that an alibi witness for Hurd recently came forward.

Prosecutors for the state learned about the revelation Tuesday morning, shortly before court began.

Assistant District Attorneys Reed Hunt and Clayton Jones are prosecuting for the State.

Hurd is represented by a trio of attorneys from out-of-state. They include Alan Bowman, from Newark, NJ; Carl Grant, from Columbia, SC; and James McMillan, of New York City.

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