MTSU Basketball Player Stabbing Trial Underway - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

MTSU Basketball Player Stabbing Trial Underway

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The trial of a Middle Tennessee State University freshman who allegedly stabbed her roommate to death last year began Wednesday morning.

Shanterrica Madden, 19, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Tina Stewart.

Madden has said she acted in self-defense when she killed the 21-year-old Lady Raiders junior guard during a fight in their off-campus apartment on March 2, 2011.

Lawyers gave differing views of what led up the stabbing during opening statements Wednesday.

Assistant District Attorney General J. Paul Newman painted Madden and Stewart as "apartment mates", saying they had been placed together randomly by the apartment complex where they were living.

Lawyers said the confrontation began after Stewart called police on Madden for smoking marijuana in their off-campus apartment.

Newman said Stewart had been warned that being around marijuana smoke could cause her to fail a drug test and lose her basketball scholarship.

Newman went on to say that the day of the stabbing that Madden and a friend had come back to the apartment she shared with Stewart to smoke marijuana. Stewart allegedly called apartment security to report it, then an off-duty Murfreesboro Police officer who worked part-time came to the apartment.

Later, Madden's attorney Joe Brandon said the officer allegedly had Madden flush the small amount of drugs. He called it a "destruction of evidence".

After the officer left, Newman said Madden went to Stewart's room and confronted her. They got into a heated argument, and that's when the stabbing occurred.

Newman said one of Madden's friends was there and witnessed and/or heard part of the fight, as well as blood on Madden when she left Stewart's room. He also said she will testify that she saw Madden put the knife and a bloody blanket in a trash bag, and saw Madden with Stewart's phone.

He also said he will present evidence from the medical examiner that after the stabbing, Madden allegedly sent two texts, one to Stewart's boyfriend and a friend, from Stewart's phone to delay any help. He also said Madden allegedly turned off the lights in Stewart's room, then went back later to check to see if Stewart was still alive and turned off the light again.

"She chose to let her die. She did nothing to render aid," said Newman.

He said Stewart's boyfriend showed up at the apartment nearly a half hour after the stabbing allegedly occurred, and Madden told him she wasn't there. He didn't believe her, went to Stewart's room, and found her body on the floor.

Madden allegedly ran from the scene, and was taken into custody by police. Police later found what they believe to the murder weapon in the apartment dumpster, along with two more knives.

Newman said Madden changed her story twice during police questioning.

Madden's defense attorney Joe Brandon said during opening statements that the pair knew each other vaguely since they grew up in the same area in Memphis.

He presented his client as "overweight", saying she did not work out or lift weights. He also presented Stewart as an athlete, who worked out often and was stronger than Madden.

Brandon also said Madden was uncomfortable because Stewart's boyfriend was basically living in the apartment, and her mother had called the apartment complex to complain.

Brandon said the knife used in the stabbing was already in the room. He also added that the friend who was in the apartment heard the fight, and heard Madden telling Stewart to stop.

Brandon also said he will present evidence of tweets from Stewart saying she hated her roommate and calling Madden names, then later saying she had called the police on Madden for smoking in their apartment.

There were also two sidebars during Brandon's statement where the prosecution objected.

Ida Stewart-Jackson, Tina Stewart's mother, was the first witness to take the stand after opening statements.

She cried when she talked about the last time she saw her daughter, which was the Saturday before her daughter's death.

Stewart's mother said when she said goodbye to her daughter, she said "come give me a hug. You never know if this is the last time I'll see you."

She also talked about how Tina was the first person in their family to go to college.

Tina's sister, Monika Jones, took the stand following a morning break. She and her mother both said Tina was a neat person. Monika also testified that Tina's Twitter was private, and that she used it to communicate with her friends and family.

Tina Stewart's father, Adrian Jackson, testified that he talked to his daughter every day except the day she was killed.

He said that his daughter had called him on the day of the stabbing, but he missed the call. He said he tried to call her back several times but could not get in touch with her.

Jackson said he found out his daughter "had been cut" when Tina's boyfriend called him later in the evening. He started yelling and asking how badly.

Lady Raiders' coach Rick Insell also took the stand. He testified that the team had a random drug testing policy, and that he encouraged his players to stay away from anyone smoking marijuana. He said he told the team that he had heard that secondhand smoke could show up in a drug test. 

He also said that he had only recently allowed his players to live off campus, and had his three female assistant coaches do room checks.

Two of Stewart's fellow Lady Raiders' teammates took the stand after a lunch break. 

Anne Marie Lanning and Kortni Jones testified that their heights were exaggerated by the team. They also both said that Stewart had complained to them about Madden smoking marijuana inside their apartment, and that the team's drug policy was zero tolerance.

Jones said Stewart was a very clean person, and it was unusual for her not to shower right after practice.

Police detective Michael Taylor has previously testified he believes the stabbing was premeditated.

Stewart's family filed a $20 million lawsuit against the Raiders Crossing Apartments, blaming the apartment complex for not doing enough to address tensions between Madden and Stewart. Attorney David Raybin said Stewart had repeatedly complained about Madden smoking marijuana in the apartment. Raybin said that Stewart was stabbed to death just one hour after a complex security guard had questioned Madden, but then did nothing more.

Madden has filed her own lawsuit against the apartment's management for failing to separate the two women. The suit said Madden requested the separation because she and Stewart did not get along.

NewsChannel 5 obtained police video of the apartment where the stabbing occurred. It shows the kitchen where three steak knives were missing and blood in Stewart's bedroom where she collapsed. There is also possible evidence of a fight where the bathroom door is damaged.

In addition to video there are also photographs of the missing knives found in a dumpster, including the one police believe was used in the stabbing. The knife is broken at the handle.

There is also a 911 call from Stewart's boyfriend who found her body:

Dispatcher: "9-1-1 Emergency"
Boyfriend: "Hello, Hello ... please come to Hazelwood apartments. Please."
Dispatcher: "What's going on?
Boyfriend: "My girl's bleeding to death, please!"

The jury was chosen Monday and Tuesday in Chattanooga. They have been brought to Murfreesboro, where they will be sequestered for the duration of the trial.

Madden faces up to life in prison if convicted.

NewsChannel 5+ and will stream gavel to gavel coverage of the trial.

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(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)

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