Testimony continued Thursday in the murder trial of a Bibb County man accused of killing a Lizella-area truck driver at his parents’ house in 2010.
For the defense, the case has produced an unusual array of potential culprits in the stabbing death of 39-year-old Tony Lord.
The trial also has served up a cast of characters and intrigue, including talk of a hit man, a baseball bat beating and a tale of a very sick black cat.
Lawyers for murder suspect David Allen Stewart on Thursday called to the stand the slain man’s estranged wife, who they contend wanted him dead.
The attorneys also questioned a handful of her acquaintances and associates, some of whom told of her mean streak, and one who said she had asked him to kill Lord.
The prosecution’s case centers on what purported eyewitnesses have told them about accompanying Stewart to Lord’s parents’ house on Altama Place, south of U.S. 80, the night Lord died.
Lord, an Army veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm, had been about to eat dinner with his folks March 5, 2010, when his killer apparently rang the doorbell. Lord stepped outside and was fatally stabbed.
Lord’s mother saw someone ride off in a white car, but she couldn’t identify the attacker.
The trail soon went cold for investigators until 2012, and in January 2013, Bibb County sheriff’s deputies charged Stewart with Lord’s murder.
Before proceedings ended Thursday, jurors heard testimony from a handful of defense witnesses.
One told how Tony Lord’s then-estranged wife, Rebecca, in the months before his death had orchestrated a baseball bat attack on another man, a guy she didn’t much care for.
Eric Marks, now 21, was 15 when Rebecca Lord, a friend of his mother’s, enlisted him and a friend to assault the man.
“Then we’ll go eat pizza,” Marks said she told him. “She was very persuasive.”
He said Rebecca Lord lured the man to a house in downtown Macon. Marks and his friend hid in a closet. When the man arrived and Rebecca Lord said the code word “payback,” Marks and his friend pounced, unleashing a violent beating, Marks said.
The victim that day, Jamie Callahan, then 40, also testified.
Though he knew Lord, he said had no knowledge of Lord’s killing or who was responsible.
Even so, a car he once owned that was stolen may have matched the description of a white car with a black roof reportedly seen near the crime scene the night of the slaying.
Callahan attributed the bat attack he endured to remarks he made earlier that summer about Rebecca Lord’s black cat.
The pet had been gravely ill when she took it with her on a trip to the beach at Jekyll Island.
The cat died on the way back to Macon, and when Callahan heard about it he said he called her “a cat killer.”
A former friend of Rebecca Lord’s, Christine Marks -- Eric Marks’ mother who was also Callahan’s ex-girlfriend and a close friend of Tony Lord -- testified that Rebecca Lord was a cat lover.
Christine Marks said Callahan’s disparaging comment about the ill feline -- “That’s what kind of mother you are. ... You even let your cats die” -- made Rebecca Lord “very mad” and “threw her over the edge.”
Another defense witness, David Haynie, who had lived with Christine Marks and Callahan and also knew Tony Lord, spoke of conversation he and Rebecca Lord had before the slaying.
Rebecca and Tony Lord, at that point no longer a couple, were in the midst of a custody dispute over their year-old daughter.
Haynie said Rebecca Lord asked him, “Would you kill Tony?”
He said she offered him her government stimulus check as payment.
“It kind of took me aback,” Haynie said, but he turned her down.
Closing arguments in the trial are expected Friday.