Slaying testimony continues in Jimmy Rauhuff trial: Neighbors say suspect drove by slain Friendsville man’s home
By J.J. Kindred | (email@example.com)
Several neighbors and acquaintances of the Friendsville man accused of murder in October 2010 were among the witnesses who testified Wednesday during the second day of his trial in Blount County Circuit Court.
Jimmy Lynn Rauhuff, 42, Cave Road, is accused of beating 65-year-old James Arthur Moser to death inside his home, also on Cave Road, on Oct. 16, 2010. He is charged with first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree murder while perpetrating an aggravated burglary, first-degree murder during the perpetration of a theft, aggravated burglary and theft greater than $500.
Rauhuff’s alleged accomplice, Crystal Victoria Summey, 36, Stephens Road, Greenback, is also being held in the Blount County Detention Facility. Her trial is scheduled for next month. Both are being held on $750,000 bonds.
Jason Shudan, a crime scene investigator for the Sheriff’s Office, testified that he made entry into Moser’s home and took pictures inside.
Blount County Assistant District Attorney Clinton Frazier showed Shudan and the jury graphic photos of Moser lying on the floor next to his front door in a puddle of blood, wearing no shirt and plaid pajama bottoms.
Shudan said while inspecting the home, he also discovered blood in the living room, hallway and the master bedroom. He also found a gun in a holster inside a desk.
During cross-examination, Shudan told Rob White, Rauhuff’s attorney, that he placed Moser’s hands inside plastic bags to identify the body through fingernail clippings, which were sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for further testing.
Shudan added that a murder weapon was never found, despite a search.
Randy Suisse, an across-the-street neighbor of Moser’s, said he knew him for 10 years and was like “a second father” to him. He called him “Mr. Jim.”
Suisse testified that he and his wife, Suzanne, were sitting on their porch the day of the slaying and heard two gunshots that sounded like they were near or inside Moser’s home. He said he tried to call Moser, but there was no answer. He did not go to Moser’s home.
Suisse said he and other neighbors were on Moser’s property when he found out about the killing. He said he saw Rauhuff drive through the neighborhood several times, but he did not stop by the scene.
Judge David Duggan excused the jury so White could cross-examine Suisse to determine if testimony relating to Summey’s involvement was admissible.
Suisse told White that he talked to Moser. “He acted like he was scared,” Suisse said. “He was afraid of Crystal and thought she was going to kill him.”
He said Moser told him he never cared much for Summey because of her demeanor, and suggested that Summey may have had a hand in killing Moser.
“The state charged Summey with first-degree murder, too,” White said. “The state is trying to wash her of any involvement.”
No definitive answer was given as to the admissibility of Suisse’s cross-examination, but the jury was brought back into the courtroom, and Suisse reiterated his testimony of hearing gunshots, and added that they thought at first Moser was shooting at squirrels.
“He didn’t like them on his porch,” Suisse said.
Suzanne Suisse then took the witness stand, and said she had met Rauhuff through a yard sale she was having, calling him and asking for his help in moving items.
She said she called Rauhuff to inform him of Moser’s death, to which he replied, “‘No (expletive),’” she said.
She also confirmed her husband’s testimony that Rauhuff was seen driving by the scene after the murder but did not stop. She said he drove through at least four times.
“The whole neighborhood was there,” Suzanne Suisse said.
The jury was again excused for cross-examination, and Suzanne Suisse told White that she had a conversation with Summey, who sounded like she was angry and agitated.
“She said, ‘That senile old (expletive) thought I stole his ladder,’” Suzanne Suisse said, adding that Summey told her she was going to pay back money that she owed Moser if he loaned her some more on top of that.
After the jury was brought back in, Suzanne Suisse said a female friend was there with her and her husband when they heard the gunshots.
Suzanne Suisse said that Rauhuff and Summey were in a relationship but had broken up, but were still seeing each other occasionally.
The final witness of the day, property owner Shirley Harrison, said she employed Rauhuff to perform some work for her.
Harrison said she received a phone call from Rauhuff, asking her if anyone was interested in buying a .22-caliber handgun from him. She said she didn’t know anyone that was interested. She also said Rauhuff told her he thought Summey had murdered Moser and “couldn’t believe that she did it. He had been like a father to him.”
Harrison’s cross-examination will begin today’s testimony at 9 a.m. as the trial continues.