The brother of a woman who died from a gunshot wound to the chest took the witness stand in Durham this morning and testified that his sister struggled with suicidal thoughts prior to her death.
Kevin Surratt testified as a defense witness in the trial of Travis Daughtridge, who stands of accused of murdering his wife, Simeka Daughtridge, on Oct. 30, 2011, in the couple's home on Spruce Street. Thursday marked the fourth day of the trial. The State contends that Daughtridge shot Simeka in the chest after an argument. The defense argues it was a suicide.
Daughtridge, 28, is facing first-degree murder charges. If convicted, he could face a lifetime prison sentence.
Sarratt, who is Simeka's brother, testified Thursday morning that on one occasion Simeka called him to say that she was going to kill herself because of her marital problems. On another occasion, Sarratt testified, Simeka attempted to cut herself, but he was able to grab the knife from her before she could do anything.
Sarratt testified to being in the house the day Simeka died. He recalled hearing a piece of glass shatter, after which Daughtridge entered his bedroom to say Simeka had killed herself.
In cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Jim Dornfried, however, Sarratt conceded that the phone call he had with his sister about her suicidal thoughts "wasn't anything big."
"She woulda done what's best for [her kids]." Sarratt testified.
A Durham police investigator, Det. Anthony, also testified this morning. Though he didn't mention anything about Simeka's potential suicidal tendencies in his written report, Anthony conceded that Daughtridge mentioned suicidal behavior during a police interview with him, after a video of that interview was played in court this morning.
In the video Daughtridge told Anthony: "This is not her first time saying she was going to kill herself."
After defense attorney Daniel Meier pressed Anthony about the discrepancy between the report and the interview, Anthony said, "My report is a summary. It's not a transcript." He also noted that Daughtridge did not express first-hand knowledge of a suicide attempt during the interview.
In earlier testimony this morning, lead detective Charles Sole said that during the initial investigation, suicide was considered, but dismissed, as a manner of death.
Meier argued that prior to her death, Simeka told her children, "Y'all need to take care of each other and love each other 'cause mama's gonna do something."
Sole suggested that this particular statement was not related to suicide.
The trial continued Thursday afternoon with the testimony of Christena Roberts, a forensic pathologist and consultant, and a witness for Daughtridge.