Defense to present its case in Doneghy murder trial; could wrap up Wednesday

Glenn Doneghy listened to testimony last week during his trial in Fayette Circuit Court. The defense will put on its case this week.
Glenn Doneghy listened to testimony last week during his trial in Fayette Circuit Court. The defense will put on its case this week.

After nearly two weeks of testimony, the murder trial of Glenn Doneghy is expected to wrap up this week.

Prosecutors have presented more than a dozen witnesses who have testified about seeing Doneghy leave his apartment, stop at a gas station and return home. Several investigators have testified about what happened after they found officer Bryan J. Durman, the efforts made to save him and the evidence they used to tie Doneghy's sport-utility vehicle to the scene.

Doneghy, 34, is accused of murder in the death of Durman, 27, who died after being hit by a hit-and-run driver while investigating a noise complaint on North Limestone. The crash happened about 10 p.m. April 29, 2010.

On Monday, testimony will resume from a state trooper who conducted a re-enactment of the crash.

Trooper Richard Parkos is the last of the prosecution's witnesses. Doneghy's defense team then will begin calling its witnesses.

It's unclear how many witnesses the defense will put on the stand or who most of them are. Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael does not keep a comprehensive list of witnesses, and attorneys will not comment on the case during the trial.

One of the defense's witnesses is expected to be Sonny Cease, a former Kentucky State Police trooper who reconstructed the scene of the May 14, 1988, bus crash near Carrollton in which 27 people died. Cease, having examined the evidence in involving Durman's death, is serving as an "expert witness," defense attorney Kate Dunn has said.

Lexington police Sgt. Billy Richmond said Thursday that Parkos was asked to conduct the re-enactment and perform his own investigation to address "discrepancies" between the Lexington police department's collision reconstruction unit and Cease's accounts.

"We decided rather than it being an us-against-them ... kind of thing, I certainly felt like it would be a good idea to get an independent party and let it look at both," Richmond testified.

However, Dunn already has raised doubt about the viability of the Lexington police's original investigation and the re-enactment led by Parkos. Dunn has asked that photos from the re-enactment not be shown to the jury because they are not "an accurate representation" of the case. She also questioned Richmond on Thursday about the impartiality of his witness: Kentucky State Police and Lexington police often work together, she said.

Thursday was scheduled to be the last day of the trial, but examination of the prosecution's witnesses — mostly police officers and neighbors of Doneghy — ran long. The trial could be over by Wednesday.

Thirteen jurors remain seated in the case. A 14th juror was dismissed last week because of a family emergency. Twelve of the remaining jurors will decide Doneghy's fate; two alternates are included when seating a jury in case of sickness or family emergency.

At the end of the trial, alternates are selected randomly and excused before the jury deliberates.

One of the remaining jurors had been excused from court for a family vacation this week. That juror volunteered to cancel the vacation to see the trial through.

The judge thanked that juror and the others before releasing them for the weekend.

"I can't thank you enough for your willingness to come back next week even though you hadn't obligated yourself to that when we first started," Ishmael said.

Testimony is scheduled to resume Monday at 8:45 a.m.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader