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STATE RESTS CASE IN LOGAN MURDER TRIAL

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The state rested its case in the Debra Brown capital murder trial Tuesday with a last witness attempting to prove the prosecution's claim that Brown's killed 75-year-old Lael Brown because he knew she had been forging his name on checks made out to her.

Forensic documents examiner George Throckmorton told a 1st District Court jury that he examined a series of checks and copies of checks and came up with the qualified opinion that parts of six checks had been traced using a legitimate check as a model.Under cross examination by defense attorney John Caine, however, Throckmorton admitted that a "unqualified opinion" does not mean 100 percent sure. He also admitted that even if the checks were traced he could not be certain it was 38-year-old Debra Brown who traced them.

Prosecutors have said the checks amounting to $3,700 made out to and cashed by Debra Brown were either forged or traced. Logan Police detective Greg Ridler testified that copies of those checks and other financial documents had to be subpoenaed from the bank because they were missing from the elder Brown's home when it was searched after the murder.

It was Debra Brown who called police on Sunday morning Nov. 7, 1993, to report that she had used a key her former boss gave her to get into his home where she found him dead in bed with gunshots wounds to the head. The weapon has never been found.

Her 19-year-son, Ryan Buttars, testifying for the defense, said he saw his mother Saturday morning, Nov. 6, 1993, making soup for Lael Brown and for his sister because they were both ill.

Ridler testified that Brown told police when Lael Brown did not answer his door, she left the soup at the front porch and was alarmed when it was there the following day.

Ryan also testified that he saw his mother with her boyfriend, Brent Skabelund, later Saturday morning watching his brother play basketball at Sky View High School in Smithfield.