The Tim McKinney trial came to a halt when one of its main witnesses, local comedian Lester Bibbs, pulled a disappearing act.
Attempts to find him for months failed, until an in-court Google search by the prosecuting team found a calendar of events listing where Bibbs would be performing.
"The idea that the state of Tennessee is paying a team of investigators to locate a witness and they cannot find them on a Google site three clicks down when I can do it in five minutes, why are we paying Inquisitor Incorporated to be incompetent?" said one of the prosecutors.
In reply, a defense team member said, "I don't stand up here and call the Sheriff's Office incompetent because we asked the professionals, the Sheriff's Office, months ago to help us with this."
When it came to tracking down the comedian, the judge didn't joke around, saying "I will give you two options: I will declare a mistrial, we have an outstanding warrant for Mr. Bibbs' arrest and we will try this case over again, or as I indicated earlier if y'all can agree to what testimony should or should not be admissible that's fine. If not, I'm going to declare a mistrial."
Both defense and prosecuting teams agreed after a recess that Bibbs would be declared unavailable and part of the deposition tape would be played for the jury on Monday.
But the trial took a surprising turn that had many in the observation area claiming the defense was "playing poker:" The defense rested. This means the jury will not hear Bibbs' testimony in court; they will only be able to hear him if it's his jokes in a casino.
The third-time-around trial resumes Monday at 10 a.m. where both sides will present their closing arguments.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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