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Details begin to emerge in second day of trial

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Feb. 7, 2001
Prosecutors and defense attorneys made little headway in the second day of the murder trial of Meridian residents Mary Ann Adams and her brother, John Barrett.
The prosecution called investigator Sonny Vincent as their first witness in the trial before Lauderdale County Circuit Court Judge Larry Roberts.
He was kept on the stand by defense attorney Charles Wright until well after the lunch break, answering questions mostly regarding the phone records of Adams and Mary Ann Woolf, whom Adams and Barrett are accused of killing on June 7, 1998.
District Attorney Bilbo Mitchell objected twice to Wright's line of questioning, saying the questioning was repetitive.
Roberts sustained the objection saying, "With all due respect I'll have to agree. We're supposed to finish by Friday, but at the rate we're going we'll be here for two weeks."
Vincent testified he became suspicious of Woolf's car wreck after her body and her car were found in a shallow creek off Hookston Road.
Prosecutors then called state designated medical examiner Dr. Steven Hayne, who said the autopsy he performed on Woolf revealed fresh water drowning to be the cause of death.
Hayne said Woolf's body was marked with numerous bruises and scratches which were consistent with being forced down.
Adams and Barrett are accused of killing Woolf for her life insurance policy in which Adams was the beneficiary. The $200,000 policy carried a double indemnity clause for accidental death.
Also expected to testify this week is Sharon Walters, a former friend of Adams. Mitchell, in his opening statement on Monday, said Walters will tell jury members Adams took out a $250,000 life insurance policy on her before a bizarre accident occurred in which Walters was struck by a train while in her locked car. That policy also carried a double indemnity clause for accidental death.
Roberts asked jury members, who have been sequestered, to stay late on Tuesday to expedite the trial.
The trial is expected to conclude on Friday.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@the meridianstar.com.