Richard Conte on Day 1 of his Capital Murder Trial. (Photo: Lisa Hutson, KTHV)
CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) - The third and final day of testimony from the prosecution in the Richard Conte murder trial proved to be a lengthy one with testimony from lead investigators, crime lab experts, and two cell mates testified that Conte had confessed to killing Carter Elliott and Timmy Wayne Robertson on the night of May 18, 2002.
Charles Reeves and Rusty Glover testified to playing cards with Conte in the Faulkner County jail when he told them he did it but no one could prove it, saying investigators were looking at the wrong evidence. Glover and Reeves testified to other intimate details of the case and of Conte's personal life.
Medical examiner Stephen Erickson testified that both victims had just ate Mexican food for dinner, and that the food at not yet digested at the time of death. Prosecutors reminded the jury of a receipt from Taco Bell dated 8:51 p.m. Saturday May 18, 2002. The prosecution claims that left plenty of time for Conte to kill Elliott and Robertson and return to his home 20 hours away in Duck Creek, Utah in time to return a phone call from Kevin Clark telling him about the murders Sunday, May 19, 2002.
Jurors also heard from several crime lab experts saying they found no physical evidence that tied Conte to the crime scene. The father of Timmy Wayne Robertson spoke out saying whether or not the physical evidence was there, he is convinced Conte killed his son.
"I hope, like I said, that the jury see's it the way I do. Guilty. Then I'll have a little bit of closure. It ain't going to bring him back, but I'll feel a little bit better about it," said Robertson.
Conte's defense team maintained that Conte was at home in Utah during the time of the murders. Part of the evidence it presented included mileage on his truck. Defense said, based on mechanical service records, there was not enough mileage recorded on his truck for him to drive from Utah to Arkansas and back to Utah during that time.
The prosecution rested their case. The defense made a motion claiming prosecutors had not presented enough evidence to convict Conte and asked the judge to dismiss the case. The judge struck down that motion. The defense will present their case Friday.
Prosecution's 10th Witness - Lt. Jim Barrett, Conway Police Department
- Responded to Elliott home on May 19th, 2002.
- Found five folded white cotton towels on the back of Elliott's head with two bullet holes through the back of them.
- A used condom was found next to Elliott's hand.
- Elliott's pockets on the left side of his jeans, front and back, were cut out.
- Semi clear small plastic bag was found next to the table.
- Both victims appeared to have had their hands behind their back at the time of the shooting.
- An unfired blue tipped glacier safety slug bullet was found next to Robertson's body in his ball cap.
- Found the blue tipped glacier safety slug bullets at Conte's home in Utah.
- Gathered phone records from all of Conte's phones. He made no calls the day of the murders on May 18th, 2002.
- Interviewed Conte at the Douglas County Sheriff's Department in Nevada.
- Conte told them he was at his Duck Creek, Utah home from May 16th to May 21st.
- Said his truck needed repairs, that the clutch had broken and had it towed on the 21st.
- Called Schwartz on the morning of May 20th to console her over Elliott's death.
- Conte admitted to police he never worked with or for the U.S. government or military.
- Conte said he had an uncle in the military and idolized him as the "real John Wayne."
- Says it was a long time fantasy he had nurtured for years.
- Conte said he had, "Done a lot of things to keep up the fantasy."
- Tried to further the fantasy to get Lark back.
Prosecution's 11th Witness - Phillip Rains, AR State Crime Lab
- Testified to testing sample blood at the crime scene.
- Only blood found was that of Elliott and Robertson.
Prosecution's 12th Witness - Mary Romnette, AR State Crime Lab
- Testified to finding no DNA at the crime scene.
- Says it is not uncommon not to find DNA.
Prosecution's 13th Witness - Chantel Tayor, AR State Crime Lab
- Tested hair, white towels found on the back of Elliott's head.
- Concluded he was shot twice through the towels at contact range.
- Tested a glove found at the home but determined the hairs were of animal orgin.
- No DNA found on used condom.
Prosecution's 14th Witness - Steve Hargess, AR State Crime Lab
- Tested several weapons recovered from Conte's home to see if the fatal bullets were fired from any of them.
- Did not match but says they could have been fired from different barrels.
- Testified the blue tipped glaciar safety slugs used to kill Elliott and Robertson are a rare and expensive type of ammo.
THV 11's Lisa Hutson is in the courtroom and providing more information as the case continues.
Background Stories on This Case:
Former doctor to stand trial in 2 Ark. slayings
Jury selection to begin in Conte double murder trial
Judge grants man release before Conway murder trial
Judge denies motion to dismiss order in Conway murder trial
Ark judge considers murder charge dismissal motion
Trial postponed in Conway double murder case
Hearing delayed in murder case of former doctor