Defense begins calling witnesses in Connor McCowan murder trial
As the jury left the courtroom for a lunch break during the murder trial of Okemos resident Connor McCowan, Judy McCowan blew a kiss to her son from the stand.
Connor McCowan’s murder trial continued Thursday morning in Ingham County Circuit Court. Ingham County Assistant Prosecutor John Dewane rested his case, and the defense began calling witnesses, including Judy McCowan, to the stand.
Connor McCowan is accused of fatally stabbing MSU student Andrew Singler Feb. 23 after getting in a fight with him over text messages. Connor McCowan’s sister, Shay McCowan, was dating Singler and had told her brother Singler had injured her that night over a text message.
During her testimony, Judy McCowan said she knew Singler well and approved of his relationship with her daughter overall, even though there had been some issues with their arguments. She said Connor McCowan and his sister were “best friends.”
After she learned of the incident, Judy McCowan said she didn’t know what to do.
Singler’s clothes were obtained as evidence on the night of his death, and Dewane presented the remains of Singler’s clothing for Meridian Township police Sgt. Andrew McCready, the officer assigned to the homicide’s investigation team, and the rest of the court to see.
The articles of clothing included Singler’s white t-shirt, a navy blue and white knit sweater, tan pants and a belt. McCready confirmed both the t-shirt and sweater were cut and in two pieces. He also confirmed there was a horizontal cut in the t-shirt, which did not appear to be a slashing.
Blood stains covered the t-shirt, while they appeared on the left side and right arm sleeve of the sweater. There were bloodstains on the pants as well as on a towel recovered from the passenger floor in the car of Tyler Aho, Singler’s roommate and an eyewitness to the incident.
“Mr. Aho had placed the towel on the victim’s chest to stop the blood flow,” McCreary said. “There is a significant amount of blood on there.”
When asked about his meeting with Connor McCowan at the Meridian Township Police Department, McCready said he had a very short time to meet with him.
“His demeanor appeared to be calm,” McCready said. “He was clear headed, intelligent and able to speak. He didn’t have much emotion that I saw.”
Chris Bergstrom, Connor McCowan’s attorney, initially wanted to bring up the possibility of Connor McCowan’s possible closed head trauma during the incident because a previous concussion.
Judge Clinton Canady III said he will not allow an expert to testify about a concussion when there was no prior diagnosis or medical treatment administered to Connor McCowan.
Judge Canady noted that concussions are medically verifiable, and the court does not have any verification. He said even though Connor is self-reporting his concussion, he never did anything about it, and that’s “causing the court problems.”
“All you have is independent cooperation of him having a headache that is too far removed,” Judge Canady said.
The judge also mentioned there may be inconsistent defenses. One defense stated Connor McCowan was confused and didn’t know what he was doing. Another said he was acting in self-defense.