Trial begins in 2008 triple murder case

Trial begins in 2008 triple murder case


by RAD BERKY / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @RadBerkywcnc

Posted on February 17, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 17 at 7:01 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Six years after a gruesome triple homicide in Charlotte, the man accused of the murders went on trial Monday at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse.

Justin Hurd, now 35, could get the death penalty if he is convicted of the three 2008 murders.

This is the first time investigators have begun to unveil details of the three killings that shocked the neighborhood to the point where some families considered moving.

In February of 2008, firefighters were called to a home on Patricia Ryan Drive in northwest Charlotte.

When they got the fire out and could enter the home, Assistant District Attorney Reid Hunt told the jury that two bodies were found.

In the kitchen was the body of 34-year-old Kevin Young, who Hunt said was handcuffed and shot.

The second body found was 33-year-old Kinshasa Wagstaff, whose throat was slashed, according to Hunt.

Hours later, Hunt said the body of Wagstaff's niece, Jasmine Hines, was found in a car in Huntersville.

Hunt said she was shot in the head and back.

As the jury listened, Hunt went on to mention a man named Nathan Sanders who police had released photos of that had come from gas station security cameras.

Hunt said Sanders was with Hurd at the house and took part in the murders.

"Nathan Sanders went to two different convenience stores, and at those convenience stores he bought items that he and this defendant, Mr. Hurd, were going to use to cover their tracks," Hunt told the jury.

Items purchased included gasoline cans, gas and plastic bags.

Hurd's attorney, Alan Bowman, told the jury in his opening statement that the prosecution's case was weak.

"No eyewitnesses are going to come in here and implicate Mr. Hurd in any bad acts," Bowman said.

Bowman went on to say of the prosecution, "They will be unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the Mr. Hurd participated in any crime."

But Assistant D.A Hunt said Hurd could be tied to both crime scenes by his own DNA.

"The only conclusion that you, as a jury, can come to is that the defendant is guilty of committing these murders."

The trial had been scheduled to begin last week but was delayed by the winter snow and ice storm.