Closing arguments in murder trial today

By Kevin Wheatley Published:

Attorneys on both sides will present closing arguments today in the murder trial of Alastair Couch, who’s accused of gunning down crime victim’s advocate Tomma Graves at point-blank range July 31.

The case will go to the jury for deliberation. Couch faces charges of murder and tampering with physical evidence.

Couch took the stand in his own defense Friday, publicly telling his side of the story for the first time. He told the jury he dealt crack cocaine in East Frankfort and that Graves was a close, sometimes intimate friend.

Couch said a black man wearing all black and a stocking mask tried to rob him as he and Graves left his Devils Hollow Road residence in her truck with Couch driving.

Graves was shot in the back of her head while Couch struggled with the gunman for the gun, a silver Ruger .357 Magnum, Couch testified.

He tried to shoot the masked man after the truck stopped on Devils Hollow Road toward South Frankfort, but the revolver was empty, Couch said. His Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol also jammed, he said.

Couch said he drove Graves’ body to the Washington Street parking lot near Harrod Brothers Funeral Home and First Presbyterian Church.

He rode in Dusty Whitis’ red Dodge Dakota to Whitis’ girlfriend’s home on 5th Avenue and tossed four shells from the revolver along Wilkinson Boulevard, Couch testified.

Whitis recommended that Couch get rid of his bloody shirt and burned it, Couch said. Whitis also burned Graves’ cell phone, he said.

Couch rode to Stedmantown Lane and tossed the Ruger off a cliff near Elkhorn Creek, he said.

Today is the trial’s sixth day.

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