The jury in the double murder trial of Michael Brandon Townsend saw more graphic images from the crime scene on Tuesday and heard from the defendant during his initial interview with a detective just hours after the deaths of Krystal Spainhour and Judy Potts.
“There is no excuse for it,” Townsend told Detective Chris Guay in a recorded interview played in court. “I don’t even know what happened. It’s not (Krystal’s) fault, it is me. I lost it. I’ve got no excuse.”
Townsend has admitted to killing both Spainhour 44, and Potts, 72, in the home he shared with the mother and daughter on Tanglewood Drive off of Cleveland Highway on Jan. 9. He and Spainhour had been "best friends," he said, for many years after working for the same company several years ago. He told detectives Spainhour said something to “set him off” when he came out of the bathroom the night of the killings and he strangled both women in the living room.
“I wish I had more details to give you, but I don’t,” Townsend said. “It is literally a blur. … It’s pretty cut and dry. I just lost my (expletive). I can’t believe I did that (expletive). I’ve never snapped on them like that.”
Townsend has been charged with four counts of murder, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of aggravated battery. Blake Skipper, Townsend’s court-appointed attorney from the Public Defenders Office, told the jury in his opening statement that Townsend was “insane” at the time of the murders.
The blood stains and blood patterns in the house along with statements from Townsend showed that Spainhour and Potts were both strangled in the living room, held down side-by-side by Townsend, according to investigators. In addition to the strangulation, Potts had blunt force trauma to her face which crushed bones in her skull, had her throat cut and was also cut across her abdomen. Spainhour’s face was severally bruised and her throat and abdomen were also cut.
Detectives recovered a black-handled knife which had blood on it in the kitchen of the home, and Detective Jason Cooley, a crime scene investigator with blood pattern training, said the injuries to Potts’ face and the resulting blood splatter patterns were consistent with someone using blunt-force trauma in a “downward motion” on Potts. Townsend had a deep laceration on his left foot when he was questioned and also had several other scratches and bumps on his body which detectives attributed to defensive wounds from the women fighting back.
“I know I hit them,” Townsend told Guay. “I was hitting them to try to subdue them or whatever and I got them down and I just held them down. I squeezed and put pressure on their bones. … Stupid. Stupid. … I don’t know why I think that, but I don’t halfway do anything. Once I had them on the ground there, I wasn’t going to just leave them beat to death or just beat up. I finished them. I finished the job.”
Townsend told Guay he believed the murders happened around 9 p.m. on Jan. 9, but six hours passed before he called the sheriff’s office at 3 the following morning. In that time, he moved the bodies, putting Potts in her bed and moving Spainhour from the floor to the couch in the living room. He covered both women with blankets, and detectives found a bucket with water and a wash cloth on Potts’ nightstand along with a bottle of shampoo and conditioner.
Townsend told Guay he tried to clean them up, trying to wash Potts’ hair, which had stiffened with blood.
“I wasn’t trying to cover anything up or hide anything,” he said. “I just tried to clean her up.”
Earlier in the day, jurors heard from Lt. Dekota Boling from the sheriff's office, who arrived first on the scene. His body camera footage was played for the court, showing where Townsend surrendered to deputies and documenting the state of the house when deputies arrived. When Boling entered the living room and saw Spainhour on the couch, he could be heard saying, "Oh God."
Witnesses for the prosecution resume testimony today at 9 a.m. before Superior Court Judge Scott Minter. The prosecution is expected to rest its case today, and the defense is slated to call its witnesses on Thursday.