Expert witnesses called to testify in capital murder trial - - The News for South Mississippi

Expert witnesses called to testify in capital murder trial


Testimony continued Wednesday in the capital murder trial of Brian Suniga.

34-year-old Suniga is accused of killing 26-year-old David Rowser II in December 2011.

The prosecution said Suniga fatally shot Rowser during a robbery at the One Guy From Italy restaurant on 50th Street, where Rowser was an employee.

Wednesday's testimony began with two former Country Inn employees who contacted Crime Line after recognizing Suniga and Sesilio Lopez.

The prosecution showed the jury several receipts that revealed that Suniga and Lopez stayed at Country Inn a number of times, always paying for their room in cash. One receipt presented proves Suniga and Lopez checked out of the Country Inn the day of the shooting.

The overnight employee said she was watching the news after the fatal shooting and the description given by news sources of the men involved in the shooting matched Lopez and Suniga's description. She said she remembered checking the cousins into the hotel at least once and Suniga's whiteout contact lenses were memorable.  

The former general manager also recounted that Suniga was wearing white out contacts . She is the one who presented the receipts for Suniga and Lopez's stay at the hotel.

Lopez's ex-girlfriend was then called to the stand.

She testified that Suniga and Lopez spent a lot of time together, always had possession of firearms and that Lopez followed Suniga's every move.

A deputy with the Taylor County Sheriff's Office said he had been informed about the crime that occurred at One Guy and was instructed to be on the lookout for a tan or champagne colored SUV.

The deputy spotted a vehicle matching the description headed East on I-27 near Abilene. He told the jury that Suniga and Lopez were inside the vehicle and he took them into custody without incident.

The deputy said as he searched the vehicle, he noticed the middle console appeared to have been tampered with. He told the jurors he used tools to take the console apart and when he died, the deputy said he found a weapon that matched several witnesses' description.

The deputy also described finding gloves, ammunition, and a cap that looked like the top of a tip jar during a search of the vehicle's console after a K-9 detected narcotics.

Video of the search and the men's arrest was captured on dashcam video. Part of that was played for the jurors.

The defense pointed out that Suniga and Lopez did not resist arrest.

A corporal involved in the case was called to the stand to describe transporting the vehicle and the suspect's clothing to a crime scene detective. He confirmed he kept his eyes on the vehicle all the way back to Lubbock to make sure no one tampered with the evidence.

DPS Firearms Examiner Kevin Callahan took the stand Wednesday afternoon.

Callahan is a forensic scientist who teaches a firearm identification course at Sam Houston State University.

Callahan examined the bullets taken from Rowser's body and determined that all three were fired from the same gun.

Callahan said he does not believe the bullets found in Rowser's body came from a Walther like the one found in the vehicle with Suniga.

Callahan was followed by LPD Detective Darren Lindley, who testified about the crime scene.

Lindley said no shell casings were found at the crime scene, which would be consistent with a revolver.

Wednesday's witnesses follow the hours of testimony given by at least eight people and LPD Officers on Tuesday.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. on Thursday. 

RELATED STORY: Witnesses take the stand in Suniga murder trial

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