Forensics Expert Testifies in Stuart Murder Trial

<p>Expert Kay Sweeney</p>

Expert Kay Sweeney

The murder trial of Tashia Stuart continues today with an independent forensics expert taking the stand as witness for the defense in Franklin County Court.

Stuart is accused of killing her adoptive mother, Judy Hebert, in Pasco back in March of 2011.

The defense claims Stuart acted in self defense.

Today forensics expert Kay Sweeney testified for the defense about more than 23 pieces of evidence, which he concludes shows Tashia Stuart acted in self defense.

The focus of his testimony was the residual tissue deposits and gun shot residue found in Hebert's home, on her clothes and on her body at the time of her death.

Sweeney testified the deposits and the residue show it was less than a second from the time she was shot until she hit the ground - and the hatchet she was holding caused the wound on her head.

Sweeney also said the gunshot through Hebert's chest and into her spine forced her arm to go up and the hatchet to fall on her own head, as she simultaneously collapsed on the ground.

He called it contact injury. "If I'm shot as my arm is being raised, spatter can get on all surfaces of the hatchet. And as I'm swinging through the arc and losing muscle control at the same time, I can't stop the hatchet. It's impossible for me to stop the momentum of the hatchet, so it hits my head," said Sweeney.

An autopsy showed Hebert died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

The prosecution is arguing Stuart killed Hebert to gain control of her finances.

The prosecution will continue its case tomorrow with lead Pasco police detective Brad Gregory expected to take the stand.