A Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner gave a detailed account of the injuries and the bruising on the bodies of Judy Potts and Krystal Spainhour and the conclusion seemed to match story Michael Brandon Townsend told about how they died.
“Cause of death is manual strangulation with the contributing factor of blunt force trauma to the head and abdomen,” Dr. Stacey Desamours said when District Attorney Bert Poston asked for her conclusions of the autopsy of both women at the state crime lab.
Townsend is on trial for the Jan. 9 murder of the mother and daughter in the home he shared with them at 234 Tanglewood Drive N.E. In recorded interviews with the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office and Townsend's initial 911 call to report the killings which have been played for the jury, Townsend has admitted to the killings. However, Blake Skipper, Townsend’s court-appointed attorney from the Public Defenders Office, said in his opening statement that Townsend was “insane” at the time of the killings.
Skipper, who is the lead counsel, and Andrew Powell are scheduled to begin their defense some time today in the fourth day of the trial.
During Wednesday’s third day, the prosecution continued to present its evidence, beginning with the medical examiner’s discussion of the autopsies on both women.
Desamours detailed the injuries to Potts, 72, and Spainhour, 44. Townsend told detectives he “snapped” after Spainhour “said something that set me off” and strangled Potts and Spainhour side-by-side in the living room of the home, saying he pounded Potts’ head on the floor. Spainhour also had significant bruising around her face and her head, especially on the left side of her face. Townsend is right-handed.
Spainhour had a dislocated left elbow, and Potts had dislocations in both arms. Both women also had fractures to bones in their neck and contusions to the cartilage in the neck, consistent with strangulation. Both women also had their throats slashed and stab wounds. However, Desamours testified those injuries were after death. Potts’ nasal bone was also broken and her face was concaved from “blunt force trauma.” Townsend had cuts and abrasions on the bottom of his feet when he was taken into custody.
Other than the knife Townsend said he used to cut the women, deputies recovered no other weapon. He told detectives that he cut their throats after they stopped moving from strangling them. He later covered each woman and put Potts in her bed and put Spainhour on the couch.
“I just wanted to end it,” Townsend said in an interview with Sgt. Brandon Dalton of the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office criminal investigations division. “I didn’t want to leave them there just suffering. ... It was over with in five minutes. I can’t believe that I had done that (expletive). I couldn’t just leave them there like that.”
When asked by Dalton if either of the women said anything to him, Townsend said Spainhour asked, “Why? Why?”
“Everybody makes mistakes, and I made a bad one,” Townsend said.
The interview with Dalton came three days after Townsend was taken into custody, and he repeatedly used versions of the statement, “I just lost my mind.”
“I hate fights,” he said. “I hate violence. I’m not crazy, I just lost my mind.”
Throughout each of the interviews which have been played in the court, Townsend has denied wanting an attorney saying he wanted to get it over with and accept whatever punishment was coming his way.
The trial is scheduled to continue today at 11 a.m. before Superior Court Judge Scott Minter, and closing statements are expected this afternoon.