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Claude Byrd trial completes testimony in 1 day

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LAWTON, Okla_The trial for the second of three Fort Sill soldiers accused in a brutal home invasion started Tuesday. Claude Byrd is charged with six counts of kidnapping and four counts of robbery. Prosecutors say Byrd and the other soldiers tied up six people in an apartment near 17th and C Avenue and shot four of them in September of 2011.

The trial moved very quickly, in fact, all the testimony was given Tuesday.  It was a non-jury trial, so Judge Keith Aycock will render the verdict. Among the prosecution witnesses were detectives who worked the crime scene. But, the defendant himself also took the stand.

Byrd testified they had simply gone to the apartment that night to get some things back that had been stolen from them.  He said the other two men came up with a plan to get inside the apartment by pretending to want to buy drugs, while Byrd waited across the hall in a friend's apartment. 

Byrd testified when he poked his head in the apartment where the other men had gone, he saw Kevon McLaren holding two guns, one pointing at three men face down on the floor and the other at a woman on a couch.

He said the other man was going back and forth to a back room, stacking items he had gathered in the living room. He said they ordered him to bring over duct tape from the other apartment and that McLaren told him at gunpoint to put the things they'd gathered in McLaren's car and to take them to the apartment they shared.

When he returned, he said McLaren told him to wait in the car, giving him one of his guns, still pointing the other at the victims. He said as he was walking out, he heard several gun shots coming from the apartment.

Moments later, Byrd said McLaren came running out of the apartment, yelling "the gun has jammed" and grabbed a different gun and ran back into the complex. He said within seconds of McLaren leaving, he heard 4 or 5 more shots and moments later, all three left. 

Testimony in the trial is now over.  Judge Aycock said he will consider the evidence and release his verdict sometime next week.

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