Jurors watched intently Friday as suspected serial killer Jeffery Lee Guillory repeatedly denied in a 2009 videotaped police interrogation that he knew, saw or ever touched Baton Rouge murder victims Renee Newman and Florida Edwards, even after being told his DNA was found on their bodies.
Newman’s brother, Baton Rouge police Officer Kevin Newman, sat in the front row of the courtroom directly behind Guillory as portions of Guillory’s Dec. 16, 2009, police interview were played on a large, flat-screen television.
Guillory, now 45, was arrested on that date and booked in the murders of Newman, Edwards and Sylvia Cobb, also of Baton Rouge.
Guillory is standing trial on one count of second-degree murder in the 2002 strangulation of Newman, 46.
Her body was discovered April 11, 2002, behind the old Maison Blanche/Goudchaux’s building on Main Street.
State District Judge Tony Marabella is allowing prosecutor Dana Cummings to introduce evidence in Edwards’ slaying at Guillory’s trial. Cummings began presenting that evidence Friday.
Edwards’ body was found Sept. 3, 1999, inside the old Dynasty Lounge on North Boulevard. The 36-year-old died of strangulation and a blow to the back of the head, police said.
Cobb was discovered July 25, 2001, beaten to death inside an abandoned house on North Acadian Thruway West. She also was 36.
Baton Rouge police Sgt. Chris Johnson, the lead detective in the Newman killing, testified Friday he first interviewed Guillory on Sept. 26, 2006, and Guillory told him he did not know Newman and Edwards and had never seen or touched either woman.
“He wasn’t hesitant. He was very direct,’’ Johnson said.
The 2006 interview was not recorded, he noted.
Johnson said Guillory told him during that interview he grew up in Baton Rouge — once living on Provost Street — but lived in Lafayette.
The Louisiana State Police Crime Lab confirmed in 2008 that DNA found on Newman’s and Edwards’ bodies matched a DNA sample Guillory provided at the 2006 interview, so Johnson said police consulted with the FBI on how to proceed with a second interview of Guillory.
During that five-hour interview in December 2009, Guillory was confronted with the DNA results but nevertheless denied killing Newman and Edwards.
“He could not explain’’ the DNA, Johnson said.
Julia Naylor, a senior DNA analyst with the State Police Crime Lab, testified Friday there is only a 1-in-9.76 quadrillion chance that DNA found on Newman’s and Edwards’ bodies belongs to someone other than Guillory.
A quadrillion is the number represented by 1 followed by 15 zeroes.
Naylor acknowledged under questioning from Franz Borghardt, one of Guillory’s attorneys, that she could not say when the genetic material got on the women’s bodies.
Guillory, who was shown pictures of Newman and Edwards during his second police interview, initially identified the Edwards photo as a woman named “Caroline.’’
When Johnson told Guillory that the woman in the photo is Florida Edwards, Guillory replied, “I don’t know her.’’ He said the same thing about Newman.
Guillory faces an automatic sentence of life in prison if convicted as charged in the killing of Newman.
The trial resumes Saturday and is expected to last through the weekend.
Guillory is serving a 50-year prison term in the second-degree robbery and attempted second-degree murder of a woman in Lafayette in late 2007. He was found guilty in that case early last year.
Guillory remains a suspect in several other unsolved killings of women in Baton Rouge that occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000s, authorities have said.