Defense Questions Prosecution Timeline in Girl's Murder Case

HAMBURG, AR - Defense lawyers have produced witnesses who say they saw a sport-utility vehicle stopped along a southeast Arkansas highway long before prosecutors say a 17-year-old girl called her family the morning after she ran out of gas and disappeared.

Kenneth Osburn is on trial for capital murder in the August 27, 2006, slaying of Casey Crowder of Pine Bluff.  Crowder vanished after her SUV ran out of gas on U.S. 65 near Dumas while on the way home from visiting her boyfriend in Pickens.  Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Yesterday, the defense put ten witnesses on the stand to say they saw an SUV parked on the side of the highway between 2 a.m. and 3:45 a.m. the morning Casey disappeared.  Before the prosecution rested Tuesday, the state introduced evidence that Casey called her mother at 5:30 a.m.  Casey's mother Melinda Crowder says that was probably a different vehicle.  She says her daughter wouldn't wait hours to call for help.

The defense also produced witnesses who said Osburn appeared normal at a cookout late in the morning of the girl's disappearance.

The trial in Hamburg is expected to go to the jury tomorrow.

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