Jury watches confession video in capital murder case

Published 6:22 pm Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Testimony continued Wednesday in the murder trial of James Osgood, a Shelby man charged with capital murder in the death of Tracy Brown in October 2010.

Chilton County jurors watched a lengthy video recording Wednesday morning from a November 2010 interview where two investigators with the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department listened to Osgood’s account of the details of Brown’s death.

Osgood, 44, told investigators during the interview that they should “get some paper” and began offering up details about the events that led to Osgood repeatedly slashing Brown’s throat after she was sexually abused in her own bedroom.

Osgood is charged with capital murder rape in the first degree and capital murder sodomy in the first degree.

Prior to Osgood’s taped confession, Lt. Shane Lockhart, an investigator with the sheriff’s department, testified that he read Osgood a written statement that was submitted to him by a female inmate who shared a jail cell with Tonya Vandyke, 43, of Chilton County, Osgood’s co-defendant and girlfriend.

Vandyke also faces two counts of capital murder but is being tried separately from Osgood.

Lockhart told prosecutors that his purpose in reading the written statement to Osgood, which detailed how Brown was killed, was in hopes of prodding a confession from Osgood.

Defense attorney Robert Bowers Jr., who represents Osgood along with attorney Billy Wayne (B.J.) Lewis, pointed out that Lockhart phrased the written statement to Osgood to make him believe it came from Vandyke.

“The written statement was used as a sense of trickery,” Lockhart testified.

In the one hour 12 minute video, Osgood appeared in a bright orange prison jumpsuit, and told the two investigators, who interviewed him at the Chilton County Jail, that he first got the idea to kill someone from watching an episode of CSI on television.

“After watching the episode of CSI, I started thinking that I could see myself doing something like that,” Osgood told investigators in the video.

After confiding to his girlfriend that he would like to know what it was like to kill someone, Osgood claimed Vandyke confessed she shared a similar interest.

Osgood also confessed that his relationship with Vandyke was “different” where he was viewed as the “master” and Vandyke was the “slave.”

“Most of the time I was the master and she was the slave,” Osgood said. “If I told her to do something, she would do it.”

Osgood and Vandyke spent the morning with Brown the day she was killed, including eating lunch, cashing Brown’s paycheck from her Clanton employer and going to see a car Brown was interested in purchasing, Osgood said in the video.

After looking at the car on Highway 22 in Clanton, the three individuals went back to Brown’s home in the Enterprise community, where Osgood offered the gruesome account of the sexual acts that were performed, including how Vandyke participated in the sexual abuse, and the way he stabbed Brown until she died on the floor in her bedroom.

Osgood often used vulgar language to describe the events leading up to Brown’s death.

Brown lived in a trailer off County Road 24.

After slashing Brown’s neck, Osgood said he became worried when Brown did not immediately die.

Osgood continued stabbing Brown in the lungs until she died, and proceeded to take a shower to wash the blood from his hands.

In the video, Osgood described the murder weapon as a “two-bladed knife” and confessed that after the murder, he tossed it in a lake on County Road 71 in Shelby County.

A dive team with the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department went to the scene in November 2010, where Osgood told investigators he disposed of the weapon, but were unsuccessful in locating the knife from the water.

The 12-member jury (and two alternates) also heard testimony from Jeff Cobb with the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department and Michael Thomas who works with the Chilton County Board of Education School of Transportation Department or “bus barn,” who was selling a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am that Brown was interested in purchasing.

Thomas testified that Brown, Osgood and Vandyke came to look at the vehicle around 10 a.m. the day Brown was killed.

Osgood appeared in court Wednesday, wearing a black Polo style shirt and khaki pants, showing no emotion, often hanging his head down, as testimony about the murder continued through Wednesday afternoon.

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