The officer spoke of knives with blue and green handles.
"If I could get you to step down," the prosecutor said, "and show them to the jury please "
Greg Mardis, of the Chattanooga Police Department, strode across the carpet in Hamilton County Criminal Court. He slipped on a pair of black gloves and pulled a gleaming silver knife from a manila envelope.
He balanced the hilt in the palm of his hand, walking up and down the jury box, 14 pairs of eyes following him. Mardis unsheathed the second knife and pinched the hilt with his fingers. He showed this knife to the jury, too, took off his gloves, and sat back down in the witness box. "I'd like to have the evidence marked separately," the prosecutor said, and jurors continued listening to the second day of testimony in the murder trial of 22-year-old Taylor Satterfield.
Prosecutors say Satterfield drove to College Hill Courts and fatally shot the mother of his children, Keiara Patton, 20, during an argument in her apartment on May 13, 2014. He fled the unit to dispose of evidence, they said, and officers found him later at Erlanger hospital with a group of people desperate to learn Patton's condition.
His public defenders, Ted Engel and Coty Wamp, have countered that Satterfield fired in self-defense when a fed-up Patton charged him with two knives. One of Satterfield's girlfriends, Breasia Hubbard, told jurors Tuesday she and Patton spoke a few days before the shooting.
Hubbard testified Patton was upset that Satterfield was seeing both women and said she'd purchased two knives and planned to kill him. The testimony, already tense, took a sharper edge when prosecutors grilled Hubbard on the number of conflicting statements she had given to officers since the shooting.
On Wednesday, though, the testimony turned into a debate over forensic evidence — specifically the knives.
A state witnesses, Derek Proctor, of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said Patton's blood was on the blade and handle of one knife.
James Metcalfe, the county's chief medical examiner, testified about the crime scene. With a photo displayed above them, Metcalfe and Engel tangled over whether the knives were on the ground before or after Patton's blood splattered on them. Although attorneys didn't outright say it, they seemed to be dancing around the issue of self-defense.
"Do you believe," Engel began, "that when that puddle of blood hit the floor, those knives were lying right there?"
"Yes," Metcalfe said, focusing a laser point on the overhead. He motioned toward a drop of blood on the knife blade. "And so it looked like the knife was also on the floor the whole time."
"So if it was an accidental shooting would you still classify it as a homicide?" Engel asked.
"Yes," Metcalfe replied.
Engel then dove into the central question: Whether Patton had a knife in her hand when she was shot.
"I think that's a less likely scenario," Metcalfe said. "You're trying to postulate that the knife made it to the floor before the blood did, and that seems unlikely."
Around 3:30 p.m., Judge Don Poole dismissed jurors, instructing them to return at 9:30 a.m. today. After state prosecutors finish presenting their evidence, Satterfield's defense can call the 22-year-old to testify on his behalf or present other proof.
Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6347. Follow on Twitter @zackpeterson918.