COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WZDX) - After calling forensic experts to the stand Thursday morning, Colbert County prosecutors rested their case against Ronald Weems.
Weems is charged with first degree murder and abuse of a corpse. Prosecutors say Weems strangled Amanda Taylor in the basement of his Moss Avenue home on Oct. 17, 2011 in an attempt to keep her from implicating him in the theft of a check worth nearly $11,000.
Thursday, defense attorney John McKelvey called his client to the stand. Weems testified that Taylor had asked him to take the blame for the theft of Laurel Pruett's state child support check. Weems said, "She attacked me because I refused to let her drag me into the whole check scheme."
Weems claimed that in the early afternoon of Oct. 17th, Taylor was dropped off at his home by her boyfriend Robert Lee. He said he had agreed to take Taylor over to Laurel Pruett's home to talk with her about the stolen check and try to convince her not to press charges.
Weems said they started arguing in the car and that Taylor demanded she be let out. He said that once she got out of the car he drove home. Weems told the jury that once home, he went to the basement to finish a cleaning project.
McKelvey then asked Weems about his height and weight back in October 2011. Weems estimated he weighed about 230 pounds and said he is 6 foot 2 inches tall. Weems then told the courtroom that at the time of her death, Taylor weighed about 130 to 150 pounds.
McKelvey then asked Weems to recall what happened in the basement. Weems said that Taylor snuck up behind him and threw a thirty pound rock at his head. He said that when he turned around Taylor lunged at him and that they "struggled for control."
Weems told the jury that at one point, Taylor kicked him up and off of her. He said the blow knocked the wind out of him. At this point Weems said he "blacked out."
Weems claimed that when he woke up, he was sitting next to Taylor's body. He said that he panicked and ran upstairs to the bedroom of then roommate Ashley Greenhill. Weems said Greenhill convinced him not to call police and that she went to the basement to check on Taylor's condition.
Weems later claimed that God revealed to him what happened during the blackout. He said he only choked Taylor to the point of being unconscious and that Greenhill likely was the one who murdered her.
Weems said that co-defendant Mathew Fox was the one who dismembered Taylor's body. He said that Fox also helped him dump the body and that it was Fox who knocked out her teeth with a hammer.
McKelvey asked Weems if he was sorry for his actions. "I wish none of this would have ever happened. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about this and wish it would have happened differently," replied Weems.
On cross examination, District Attorney Brice Graham asked Weems why he lied to investigators for months. "Don't you just get tired of lying?" asked Graham.
Weems admitted to lying in the past but told Graham, "I lied then but I recently decided to start telling the truth."
Graham said, "Not everyone is as weak minded as the people you've dealt with in the past."
He continued by asking Weems if he actually expected any of the jurors to believe Taylor entered that "hell hole of a basement" unarmed with the intention of killing him.
Weems replied, "I honestly believed she was trying to kill me," to which Graham said, "Well bless your heart."
Graham then began to pick away at Weems claims that he killed Taylor in self defense. Graham asked Weems, "How in the world can you say putting a strap around someone's neck and choking the life out of them is self defense?"
Before court broke for lunch, Graham asked Weems a final question.
"Isn't it time for you to man up and admit that you are nothing but a cold blooded murderer?"
Weems was excused from the stand. Assistant District Attorney Kyle Brown says he isn't aware of any other witnesses for the defense and expects closing arguments to begin when court resumes at 1:45 p.m.