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Murder Trial Underway in Edgefield

web posted January 5, 2012

EDGEFIELD – The murder trial of Alexander Louis Hunsberger, 33, in relation to the death of 16-year-old Augusta resident Samuel Sturrup Jr. on Sept. 3, of 2001, got underway at the Edgefield County Courthouse Wednesday. Hunsburger is one of six charged in the Augusta teen's kidnapping and subsequent execution style murder off Community Road in Edgefield County. Steven Louis Barnes, the convicted ringleader of the group, was sentenced to death on November 17, 2010 for his part in the murder.

The Solicitor's Office, lead by assistant solicitor Frank Young, laid out their case in opening arguments just before noon after a jury was seated earlier in the morning. Young laid out the progression of the events leading to the murder of Sturrup and Hunsburger's active participation in selecting the location of the murder.

Antonio Griffen, Richard Cave, and Charlene Thatcher, all of Augusta, were 17 at the time of the murder and are also facing murder charges. Richard Cave testified on Wednesday to his participation in the murder and Hunsburger's role. Griffen and Thatcher are expected to testify on Thursday.

Grover Daiz testified early in the trial as to finding the skull of Sturrup on his property in November of 2001 and reported it to the Edgefield County Sheriff's Office and noted that a hole in the skull looked like a bullet wound. Sturrup had been reported missing since Labor Day of 2001. As the investigation continued, the remains of Sturrup were located near the Hunsburger property.

Edgefield County Chief Investigator Lt. Randy Doran testified to the steps taken to identify Sturrup and the role of the Richmond and Columbia County Sheriff's Offices during the investigation. SLED was also called in to help investigate the murder during the early stages of the investigation.

The trial will continue today with additional witnesses expected to include the lead SLED Investigator and a forensic expert to be called before the prosecution rests their case today or early Friday.

Also attending the trial is Edgefield attorney Randy Williams who will be representing Alex Hunsburger's brother Julio, whose murder trial is expected to start on Monday of next week for his participation in the execution style murder of Sturrup.

Edgefield Daily is withholding specifics of the testimony given at this time to prevent prejudicing of the potential jury pool for next week's trial. Williams has already stated that news reports of Alex Hunsburger's trial will be a major issue leading up to the start of the trial of his client next week due to pretrial publicity by another news agency covering the trial.

The case is expected to be handed to the jury for deliberation by Friday. 

Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman, of Columbia, is presiding over the trial.

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