Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014

Trial of man charged with Brooksville teen's murder continues


INVERNESS - The prosecution in the first-degree murder trial of Byron Lee Boutin pulled out a "top gun" aimed at punching holes in the defense's narrative about how a slain Brooksville teen got her hands on a lethal dose of morphine.

Wednesday, prosecutor Pete Magrino also put the man largely regarded as being responsible for the death of DeAnna Stires, 18, in the orbit of the two people accused of killing her.

Boutin and his girlfriend Crystal Brinson, 36, of Brooksville, stand accused of killing the teen by injecting her with an excessive dose of morphine and then dumping her body in a hunting area in Levy County.

Stires was reported missing on New Year's Day to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office. Her body was found Jan. 18 in a wooded area off State Road 24 in the Levy County community of Otter Creek.

Two hunters found Stires' body wrapped in black fabric with her arm hanging out of the wrapping near a dirt road in the hunting area. A circling vulture led the hunters to the body.

The medical examiner has already said Stires died of "acute morphine intoxication."

The prosecution contends Boutin, 42, and Brinson killed Stires after becoming furious with her for stealing methamphetamines worth $1,800 from them and then hatched a plan to dispose of her body. Magrino also accused Boutin of making inconsistent statements to investigators to keep them off his trail. But the defense team of Charles Vaughn and Clifford Travis said Boutin and Brinson were trying to calm down a disruptive, drug-crazed teen when Brinson administered the fatal dose of morphine to Stires. It is Boutin's contention the morphine was brought on Christmas Day to his Homosassa home by a gay man from Temple Terrace who was to have sex with Stires in exchange for the drug. The plan according to Vaughn, was to have Stires dress up like a male to entertain the man. However, Wednesday in Judge Ric Howard's courtroom, the prosecution called William Lannert at the end of the day's testimony to refute the assertions.

Lannert said he did go to Boutin's house on Christmas Day - not to trade drugs for sex - but to meet a "special person."

Lannert said he didn't even get to talk to Boutin that day and spent only about 30 minutes in the home before Brinson turned on him and sent him away. Lannert is a self-described military veteran with topflight flying skills, something akin to "Top Gun," he told the court. He said he only briefly met Stires, who was introduced as someone named Monique or Monica and they never talked about sex or drugs.

Vaughn pressed Lannert to explain why he had several morphine pills in his car trunk for a trip that only took about two hours.

Lannert, who said he is disabled from breaking his back in several places, said he needed the morphine to control his pain and that he brought the pills as a contingency if his car broke down and he needed medication within 24 hours.

The first witness, Kevin Shields of Floral City, was reportedly the man who introduced Brinson and Boutin to Stires on that methamphetamine-driven weekend.

In fairly scattered and nervous testimony, Shields told the court Brinson and Boutin did come to him the day after Christmas and that Brinson told him Stires' body was in the trunk of their vehicle. He said he never believed them and never looked in the trunk, but that Boutin was asking about good places to go camping.

"I didn't know. I just told him to just pull anywhere in the woods and camp," Shields said. He said Boutin and Brinson also were talking about how badly Stires trashed Boutin's home and that there was a fight "with a little bit of blood in the kitchen."

Shields said Boutin also told him Stires stole his meth and that "she had to go."

The jury also heard from Citrus County Sheriff's Office forensics team members Ashley Pate and Dave Cannaday about the photographic and videotaped layout of Boutin's home and the fingerprints that were lifted. Two Florida Department of Law Enforcement analysts also testified about the blood evidence, the gun that was purportedly used to pistol-whip Stires and DNA.

Sheriff's Detective Juan Santiago, who sat in on two of Boutin's interrogations, shared what the prosecution considers evolving stories about his role in Stires' death.

The trial continues Thursday morning.


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