Prosecutors: Nashville Nurse Was Stabbed 9 Times

Posted at 2:55 AM, Sep 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-17 20:25:01-04

Opening statements began Monday morning in the trial of Christopher McLawhorn, the man charged in the 2017 murder of Tiffany Ferguson. 

Investigators said McLawhorn entered Ferguson's Wedgewood Park condo through an unlocked door in February of 2017, and stabbed her to death in her bed.

Detectives said McLawhorn was caught on surveillance video trying to open car doors before he made his way into Ferguson's unit. In the hours after the murder, investigators said McLawhorn's cell phone was used for internet searches on how police use fingerprints in investigations.

Read More: Arrest Made In Fatal Stabbing Of NashvilleNurseDuring opening statements, prosecutor Pam Anderson said Ferguson was stabbed nine times and sustained injuries all over her body, including her heart and both sides of the body. 

Family and friends of Ferguson teared up as Anderson went into detail about her stab wounds. 

Officers arrived and found a bloody cutlery kitchen knife with a six-inch blade, later determined to have Ferguson’s DNA on it. 

Anderson also said there’s surveillance video from the complex showing McLawhorn walking in and out of Ferguson’s apartment for several minutes. 

Among items stolen were a laptop, purse and jewelry. At 5:39 a.m., he could be seen running away towards Interstate 65.

Ferguson’s roommate took the stand and testified that she awoke to screams and found the front door open before she discovered Ferguson lying on her back with large knife wounds.

She broke down after she said she heard one short breath from Ferguson as she was conducting chest compressions.

The next witness was a neighbor who said she found the purse believed to have been stolen by McLawhorn outside of the complex. 

Ferguson’s co-worker told the jury that a group of them, including Ferguson, went out for drinks earlier that night. He came home with Ferguson but later, got a ride-share back to his own place. The prosecutor said he walked out with the door unlocked.

About an hour before the stabbing call, Officer Frank Walker said he responded to a nearby gas station about a suspicious person pulling car door handles in the area. However, he never spotted the person. 

An investigator looked through dozens of pictures from the crime scene including a knife found outside of the condo believed to be the murder weapon. The blood on it tested positive for Ferguson’s DNA.

When pictures of her blood-stained bed were shown in court, one of Ferguson’s loved ones left the courtroom in tears. Meanwhile, her identical sister, who was visibly upset, was being comforted.

A death investigator took the stand to discuss how she lifted fingerprints from items including the headboard.

A man on the stand said McLawhorn admitted to the killing. However, the jury was done for the day and didn't hear the testimony.

The man claimed it was an accident but McLawhorn grabbed a knife from the kitchen and checked each room. McLawhorn apparently started stabbing her when she screamed. The judge will determine if he will be a witness in front of the jury Tuesday.

The case put people on alert for days in the Wedgewood neighborhood. Ferguson was killed on February 28, 2017. McLawhorn was arrested on March 5, but wasn't charged with Ferguson's murder until days later.

Ferguson was just 23-years-old at the time of her death. She was a nurse at St. Thomas.

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