E-mail and photos presented, co-workers testify in Scott murder trial - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach and Andrew Douglas

E-mail and photos presented, co-workers testify in Scott murder trial

An e-mail and photographs of defendant Jeffrey Scott were the focus of Thursday's trial testimony in the murder of popular Bolton High School teacher Ashley Scott.
The court has seen photographs of the severely beaten and bruised body of Ashley Scott, who died on Thanksgiving Day, 2006.

But on Thursday, photographs presented of Jeffrey Scott's hands, knuckles, chest and arms showed no evidence - not a scratch or bruise - of a fight or struggle.

The contents of a lengthy e-mail, which the jury spent a great deal of time reviewing, were not revealed in court on Thursday.

The e-mail was obtained by Action News 5 on Thursday night. Click here to read it.

Crime scene investigators discovered the printed e-mail, sent from Ashley Scott to her stepfather in 2005, near the couple's computer while they were taking photographs inside the home.

"This was an e-mail that Ms. Scott received from another person that was sent, and it was the email that was located on the table in the office," investigator Kay Turnmire said when she took the stand.

In the e-mail, Ashley Scott asked her stepfather to help her make a budget, saying "So...as you can see...I have made a mess."

She wrote, "Jeffrey would get mad at me if I asked for money. And I am so pigheaded that I would rather run up a bill than ask him for money." 

Ashley also wrote that she refused to let Jeffrey put her on a budget.

A list of her expenses for one month details things like dining out, gas purchases and eight trips to the liquor store.

Sources close to the prosecution say the e-mail was presented as evidence to show that Ashley and Jeffrey Scott had been experiencing financial troubles - a possible reason for why the couple had been fighting on the night of Ashley Scott's murder.

Judge James Lammey denied jurors' requests to ask questions about the e-mail.
"It could lead to you starting deliberation before it's time," he said.    
After the jury left the courtroom on Thursday, several of Ashley Scott's Bolton High School co-workers testified that they had seen bruises on her face and forehead. They said she would try to hide those marks with heavy clothing even when it was warm, and with heavy makeup and hairstyles.

"I observed a knot on her head and a black eye," said teacher Gary Shriver. "She said Jeffrey hit her."

Teacher Kevin Gates said Ashley Scott confided in him. "She said her and Jeffrey were having problems, 'and he struck me in the head.'"

Lori Machen, who knew Ashley since the fifth grade, testified that Jeffrey used to call her.

"He told me he deserved better than Ashley," she said.

Machen also said Ashley Scott was afraid to spend any money because Jeffrey kept close tabs on what she spent.

All of these prosecution witnesses testified outside the presence of the jury because the defense team objected to the testimony.

"I don't think you saw or heard anybody in there who say anything happened," said defense attorney Blake Ballin. "They testified to hearsay statements."        

Stay with Action News 5 and WMCTV.com for continuing coverage of this trial.

Click here to e-mail Janice Broach.

Click here to e-mail Andrew Douglas.

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