Emotions run high as Cottrell murder trial continues

The jury was let go early Friday afternoon, not because witnesses were done testifying but because the court room became very emotional. (Source: Lisa Gresci)
The jury was let go early Friday afternoon, not because witnesses were done testifying but because the court room became very emotional. (Source: Lisa Gresci)
Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said the trial could be all over with a new life or death verdict by noon Saturday depending on how many people the defense calls to the stand. (Source: Lisa Gresci)
Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said the trial could be all over with a new life or death verdict by noon Saturday depending on how many people the defense calls to the stand. (Source: Lisa Gresci)

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - State prosecutors began penalty stages for Luzenski Allen Cottrell.

Prosecutors were not planning on getting through so many witnesses Friday, but like the rest of this trial, it all went by fast, but not without raw emotion.

The jury was let go early Friday afternoon, not because witnesses were done testifying but because the court room became very emotional. The last two to speak, Myrtle Beach Police Chief, Warren Gall and Sergeant Mike Guthinger.

Out of all 20, Anita McGarry, Joe's mother felt their testimony was the hardest to hear.

"Especially Mike's testimony and the Chief. Joey loved being a police officer. He loved his job. He could have been anything he wanted to be," Anita McGarry said.

Guthinger was with McGarry the night he was shot and killed; he admits he carries that night with him 24/7 and it has changed his life forever. He's constantly looking back at what he could have done differently.

"I tasted his blood in my mouth, tried to do CPR, blood all over my face, and then I second guessed, I had an opportunity to shoot Cottrell," Guthinger explained.

"I know he blames himself, but absolutely was not his fault. Absolutely not," McGarry said.

Friday's testimony was to mainly fill the jury in on details they could not know before the conviction.

"What was the cause of Jonathon Love's death," Solicitor Jimmy Richardson asked.

"Multiple gun shot wounds to the head and chest," Bennett answered.

"And, the manner of death please," Richardson asked.

"Homicide," Bennett replied.

Before Friday, the jury could not know the "shooting" Cottrell was a suspect in, was in fact a murder.

"Now we're talking about the character of Luzenski Cottrell. They would have never known that he killed two other people but for the testimony today," Richardson explained.

"If anyone wants to know what a true sociopath is, it's Alan Cottrell. He'll kill you in a blink of an eye," McGarry expressed.

Also kept from the jury, McGarry had proposed to his girlfriend Holly on Christmas, just days before his death.

"They called me right after, they were both giggling. Happiest days, day of their life," McGarry described.

Left to testify for the state was McGarry's fiance at the time, Holly, his father Joe McGarry Senior, and his mother Anita.

The defense will bring their witnesses to the stand Saturday.  Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said the trial could be all over with a new life or death verdict by noon Saturday depending on how many people the defense calls to the stand.

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