CENTREVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) - Ricky Spencer, the main witness for the prosecution, broke down on the stand Tuesday morning as he testified how Doug Stewart said he killed his wife, Venus, in April 2010.
Her body has never been found.
This is the second day of testimony for Spencer.
Venus' friends and family also broke down as they listened to Spencer, the Delaware man who claims he pretended to be Doug to provide him an alibi, describe the killing.
"'OK, dude, it's done,'" Spencer testified Doug said over the phone. "I was kind of shocked to hear that. I said, 'What happened?' and he said that he called Venus' parents house in Michigan and said that he was the mailman, had a package for her. He jumped out and he said that there was a scream. She only screamed once. She tried putting up a fight, but he was able to get her in a headlock and a drop of blood came from her nose."
Doug, he said, said he did it to give his kids "some type of future," but had to find another burial spot because there were people around the spot he planned to use.
After his cell phone conversation with Doug, Spencer said Venus' parents called Doug's cell phone. He did not answer the call.
Spencer asked Doug if he was going to kill him. Doug said no, and Spencer said, "Good, because that would suck."
Doug said the only people who are going to know Doug killed Venus are "me, you, my lawyer and my parents," Spencer testified.
He told Doug he did not want to know where Venus was buried.
Shortly before he was finished with his questioning, St. Joseph County prosecutor John McDonough brought up the immunity deal Spencer accepted. In the deal, Spencer will face no more than a year in county jail on manslaughter charges.
Spencer testified that even without the plea deal, he told the police he was Doug's alibi and knew Doug planned to kill his wife.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Schroder began his very brief cross-examination, and made an argument Spencer perjured himself in previous testimony about his actions. He asked Spencer if he meant to kill Venus and wanted her dead.
"No," Spencer replied. He added he was hoping Doug wouldn't go through with the plan.
Throughout the trial, the jury is allowed to ask questions of the witnesses. They wanted to know why Spencer lied to his parents about where he was going on his Spring Break trip. Spencer earlier testified he was leaving Delaware to visit a friend in Baltimore.
He told the jury he didn't think about all the trouble he could get into, and didn't tell his parents about the plot until the police came to question him.
Judge Paul Stutesman told Spencer he could step down from the stand around 11:30 a.m., but reminded him he may be recalled later in the trial.
After the lunch recess, a series of people who worked at the Newport News, Virginia apartment complex where Doug lived took the stand. Katherine Gill described Venus as "a doting mother."
Another employee, Lisa Ann Hall, said "Venus was a very dedicated mother. There was never a time I saw her without her daughters."
Hall said Doug wore shorts all the time and moved out of the Virginia apartment in May after Venus disappeared. He left behind Venus' and the children's items, she said.
A series of Doug's co-workers then testified -- Kenneth Snell, Bobby Kendrick and Doug's boss, Tony Staton.
Kendrick testified the day before Venus disappeared Doug called in sick. Kendrick thought it was odd that the caller sounded " agitated & hurried."
Staton testified Doug called in sick on April 16 and again on April 26, 2010. He said Doug told him he went to visit his lawyer and had an eye doctor appointment.
Spencer returned to the stand Tuesday morning when court convened in the Doug Stewart murder trial.
Stewart is accused of killing his wife, Venus, in April 2010. Her body has never been found.
On Monday, Spencer, a Delaware resident who was granted immunity in Michigan for his testimony, said he agreed to provide an alibi for Doug when he went to Michigan to kill Venus.
- He met Doug in December 2008 playing XBox Live
- He met Doug in person for the first time in April 2010
- Said he agreed to help Doug after he believed Doug's children were being harmed by Venus
- Said Doug gave him a cell phone, credit cards and keys to make it appear Doug was in Virginia
He was on the witness stand all morning. Court adjourned at noon with Spencer still on the stand.
Judge Paul Stutesman ruled the defense can question Spencer about the immunity deal he received from the prosecution. They say it goes directly to Spencer's credibility.
24 Hour News 8 will continue to provide up-to-the-minute coverage from reporter Dani Carlson on CoverItLive and on a live stream on woodtv.com
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