Officer testifies in murder trial

Defendant found by trail of blood

Blood coated the kitchen floor and soaked into the carpeting in a bedroom, Deputy Christopher Epps said of the scene he found after being flagged down for help in the early morning hours of May 21, 2009.

Jesse Haynes, 42, lay on the kitchen floor. Rodney Crane, 27, was in the bedroom. Other Richmond County officers had just started arriving when they noticed something else, a trail of blood drops from the Glenwood Apartments unit where the two victims were found to one upstairs, Epps testified Monday. Investigators found Joshua B. Ferguson, 53, there.

Ferguson has pleaded not guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to murder and weapon charges in the deaths of Haynes and Crane. Testimony continues today.

Officers weren't sure whether there was another victim or a suspect in the upstairs apartment, Capt. Scott Peebles testified. When they learned the apartment was leased by a woman but a man had opened the apartment door before slamming it shut in a deputy's face, Peebles decided they had to get inside immediately, he testified.

Ferguson was the only one in the apartment. He had locked himself in the bathroom and at first refused to come out. "A dying man needs a cigarette," Peebles said Ferguson told officers. It took about 10 minutes to persuade Ferguson to open the door. He had a cut on one hand but no other obvious signs of injury, Peebles said.

This morning, witnesses are expected to testify about the crime scene and what might be deduced from the evidence found in both apartments.

Ferguson has an extensive criminal history that began in May 1971, when he committed robbery while still a teenager.

In June 1984, Ferguson was charged with murder in the stabbing death of Alfred N. Golack. The charge was reduced to manslaughter, and Ferguson was sentenced to five years in prison.

Ferguson later did time for burglary. His latest release from prison was in May 2007.