"A really violent encounter" at Bouwman double murder scene | News
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The double murder trial is underway for Javonte Higgins, the 23-year-old man accused of killing an elderly Kentwood couple in January 2013.
The first day of testimony included graphic photos of David and Vivian Bouwman, who had been shot twice at close range. The prosecution started the trial by showing home video of a car fire.
Witnesses recalled seeing a man with an orange bucket running from the scene. That car was the Bouwman's stolen Cadillac. When police arrived at the Bouwman's house they found a bloody scene.
Louis Hunt, a Kent County Sheriff's Department crime scene investigator testified that there were four gunshot wounds; two to David and two to Vivian. "You can see that it's a really violent encounter," Hunt said.
The prosecution continued to show evidence like bloody footprints leading to and from the Bouwman's home. A witness at the scene of the car fire also helped police make a composite sketch a possible suspect. Prosecutors say it's Javonte Higgins, but the defense says the jury will not see any conclusive evidence.
"The evidence will fail to show many things, but the key thing the evidence will fail to show, that my client Mr. Higgins was anywhere near the Bouwmans' house on Stowe Valley," defense attorney Val Foster told jurors in opening arguments. "There will be no DNA evidence attributed to Mr. Higgins, in or near the home."
The Bouwman's daughter, Karen Kelly, also took the stand. She says the last time she talked to her mother was the day her own daughter, Kendra returned to Colorado where she lived. "My daughter left for Colorado Springs and stopped in to see her," Kelly told the jury. "She had a cold and she just told me she was feeling better and she was so glad Kendra stopped in to say goodbye." Kelly talked also talked about her mother's wedding ring. She says she never took it off, but when her body was found, the ring was gone.
The were also witnesses from a local gas station who say they saw a man putting gas into an orange bucket. That person was caught on tape and prosecutors say it's Javonte Higgins. Prosecutors say Higgins stole the Bouwman's car and later set it on fire to destroy evidence.
If convicted of the two murders, Higgins will spend life in prison. The trial continues Wednesday.