Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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July 9, 2014

Week two for murder trial

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — The state’s case continued Monday against an Elmore City man accused of killing a man and dismembering his body nearly two years ago.

An eight-man, four-woman jury, which includes two male alternates, heard its third day of testimony in the first-degree murder trial of Justin Hammer, 32.

The start of the trial’s second week included testimony from agents with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Testimony here focused on a slow and detailed description of the search of Hammer’s residence, all the items found after authorities learned Brandon Duran had been killed inside and the lab analysis of the items.

Hammer has maintained his actions were in self defense as Duran was killed on Aug. 7, 2012. The defendant has claimed he fired a shotgun into Duran’s head because he feared for his life.

He has confessed to then using a saw to cut the dead body into 25 pieces before attempting to dispose of them in containers he dropped to the bottom a farm pond on his property near Elmore City. Prosecutors in the case say evidence shows Hammer’s actions were premeditated as he planned out Duran’s death in advance.

It includes testimony from an employee of Ace Hardware in Pauls Valley who told jurors there were two consecutive days in early August 2012 when Hammer’s own Ace rewards card was used to purchase items at the local store.

Among the items were five 5-gallon paint buckets and lids, 10 bags of ready mix concrete, a pair of latex gloves and gallon of bleach. The items were later used by Hammer in the attempt to dispose of the body.

The trial in a Garvin County District courtroom in Pauls Valley adjourned early Monday afternoon because of a family medical issue for a juror. An official with the state medical examiner’s office in Oklahoma City is expected to testify on Tuesday about the autopsy on Duran’s body.

Later when the defense presents its case Hammer is expected to take the witness stand and give jurors his side of the deadly encounter with Duran.

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