Testimony begins in capital murder trial

Published 6:23 pm Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Chilton County jurors heard opening statements Tuesday afternoon in the trial of James Osgood, a Shelby man charged with capital murder in the death of Tracy Brown in October 2010.

A 12-member jury (with two alternates) was selected Tuesday morning in Osgood’s trial for the death of Brown, 44, of the Enterprise community.

The Chilton County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call about a possible death at a trailer park at the intersection of county roads 49 and 24 in the Enterprise community.

“When Tracy Brown woke up, she had no idea what was in store for her that day,” Assistant District Attorney for the 19th Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office Brandon Bates told jurors at the trial’s opening Tuesday. “She had no idea that her day would end on her bedroom floor, face down, curled in the fetal position in a pool of her own blood.”

Bates said Brown died because Osgood, 44, and Osgood’s girlfriend, Tonya Vandyke, 43, wanted to know what it was like to kill someone.

“We know this because Osgood told us the story,” Bates said. “It is graphic and details a very gruesome and heinous act.”

Vandyke is also facing capital murder charges involving the killing of Brown but is being tried separately from Osgood.

Defense attorney Robert Bowers told jurors that everything they needed to know would come from the witness stand, written reports, pictures and videos.

“What you need to know will come from sources,” Bowers said. “I would urge you to watch and listen to the evidence. My job is to represent James Osgood because our United States Constitution guarantees everyone the right to a fair trial. I believe everyone is entitled to a fair trial.”

Osgood was indicted on two counts including capital murder rape in the first degree and capital murder sodomy in the first degree.

Osgood allegedly beat, sexually abused and cut Brown with a knife, or knife-like object.

Prosecutors called witnesses to the stand Tuesday afternoon to testify what they saw at Brown’s trailer after finding her body at her Enterprise community home.

Lucille Martin, who manages the trailer park where Brown lived, found Brown’s body and reported it to the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department after she made the discovery.

David Moses, who worked at the time as an officer for the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department, testified that he responded to a dispatch call of a “possible dead body.”

“At the time we arrived at the trailer we met Mrs. Martin who explained that Tracy had been found and appeared to be deceased,” Moses said. “When we located Tracy in the floor in her bedroom there were no signs of life. The scene was gruesome.”

Jurors also heard from Adam Grooms who works with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.

Grooms walked jurors through a video recording of the initial crime scene investigation.

“Our job was to document evidence at the crime scene,” Grooms said.

Several jurors wiped tears from their eyes after viewing the chilling scenes from the video.

Osgood, wearing a white-Polo style shirt and khaki pants, with his long, black, curly hair hanging below his shoulders, kept his head down during the video.

Osgood’s attorneys are Robert Bowers and Billy Wayne Lewis Jr.

Randall Houston, C.J. Robinson, Jessica Sanders and Bates with the 19th Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office are prosecuting the case.

The trial is being held before Chilton County Circuit Judge Sibley Reynolds and is expected to continue through the week.