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Day 2 in the Patrick Pursley retrial: Defense says bullets don't match murder weapon

ROCKFORD, Ill. - Witnesses  took the stand on Friday, in day two of the retrial of Patrick Pursley, who was convicted of murdering Andrew Ascher in 1994.

After more than 20 years behind bars, new testing in the case led to his release on bond and retrial.

Prosecutors introduced the Grand Jury testimony of Pursley's former girlfriend, Samantha Crabtree, in which Crabtree said that the couple were having financial problems and were driving around, looking to commit burglaries on the night Ascher was killed.

Crabtree also testified that she she heard gunshots after she dropped Pursley off, and he returned to her car with her 9mm handgun.

Crabtree later recanted that testimony, something prosecutors say happened because Pursley threatened her and her children.

The defense says she was coerced into giving the testimony in the first place.

The defense followed by calling its witnesses, including ballistics expert John Murdock, who tested the shell casings found on the scene, which he testified did not come from the murder weapon.

"This group from the crime scene matches very well," Murdock said, using diagrams and photos to explain the forensic science to the jury. "This other group of four that are test matches, but the two groups don't match each other. Conclusion: the two groups [of bullets] were fired from different guns."

Prosecutors countered by saying that the evidence could have been mishandled.

Closing arguments in the case will be heard Tuesday.


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