NASHVILLE – A mother’s attempt to share certain details about her son’s past was stymied during her testimony Wednesday after a judge upheld prosecutors’ objections that the information was irrelevant to whether her son killed a man in 2011.
Linda Hutcheson took the stand in N.C. Superior Court in Nash County to testify about her oldest son, Matthew, 29, who is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Duwone Vondel Parker, 32, of Rocky Mount.
Linda Hutcheson was among 10 witnesses who testified Wednesday during the third day of the trial. Other witnesses included law enforcement officers, a firearms examiner, a forensic scientist, a neuropharmacologist and a clinical psychologist.
A man who was walking his dog discovered Parker’s body on March 2, 2011, in a wooded area near the 3600 block of Greystone Drive. Parker died of a gunshot wound to the neck, a medical examiner testified earlier this week. His body was found wrapped in plastic that was secured with Duct tape and tie-down straps. His body also had been burned.
This week, attorneys have been piecing together evidence related to the events that transpired between Feb. 25, 2011, when a friend said he last saw Parker leaving a house with Hutcheson, and March 2, 2011, when Parker’s body was found.
The state finished calling its witnesses to testify Wednesday afternoon.
John Denton, a detective with the Rocky Mount Police Department, testified that a gun recovered from Matthew Hutcheson’s pickup had been purchased by Hutcheson.
Jennifer Pohlheebr, a firearms examiner for the N.C. State Crime Lab, testified about casings and bullets that were sent to her to analyze.
She said she could not prove that the bullets had been fired from the gun found in Hutcheson’s truck, but the bullets had the same characteristics.
Pohlheebr said she could identify four of the five bullets as 9 mm bullet rounds. However, the bullet that was removed from Parker’s body could have been fired by a 9 mm, a .38 or a .357-caliber gun, Pohlheebr said.
Michelle Hannon, a forensic scientist with the N.C. State Crime Lab, testified that a partial DNA profile obtained from a swabbing of Hutcheson’s truck bed matched the DNA profile obtained from Parker. The DNA profiles that were obtained from swabbings of a trash can at the Hutcheson residence and a section of rug inside the house also matched the DNA profile that came from Parker, Hannon said.
The defense called its witnesses to testify Wednesday afternoon.
Linda Hutcheson testified that her son Matthew had been living with her at her home on Charleston Court for approximately a year before he was arrested in 2011.
She said she was in Arizona on Feb. 25, 2011.
Linda Hutcheson said her son’s demeanor during the year he lived with her was erratic.
Her son was seeking psychological help and had a prescription to take Suboxone, which she said altered his personality.
“He just wasn’t himself,” Linda Hutcheson said. “He wasn’t the son that I knew.” Prosecutors objected when Linda Hutcheson started to talk about certain events in her son’s past, including the death of his wife.
Judge Thomas H. Lock upheld the prosecution’s objection, but he allowed Hutcheson to testify about her son’s use of drugs at or about the time of the alleged crime.
Linda Hutcheson said she was concerned about her son before leaving for Arizona.
Not long before the trip, she said she found her son on the bathroom floor with what appeared to be an IV of drugs and a syringe.
That was the first time she had encountered something like that, Hutcheson said, but her son had had other problems with drugs.
Hutcheson said that before she left for Arizona and while in Arizona, she and family members had been discussing what to do. She said she also had talked to her son before she left for Arizona about him going to rehab because she was concerned about his drug use.
Medical experts testified that Matthew Hutcheson had a past history of substance abuse problems. He also had battled depression and anxiety, they said.
Dr. Claudia Coleman, a clinical psychologist, testified that Hutcheson had at different times in his life been dependent on several different substances. He also had been diagnosed with major depression. When he was young, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Coleman said.
She said Hutcheson used drugs and alcohol to try to self-medicate.
Coleman said she believes Hutcheson was addicted to several kinds of drugs, including anti-anxiety medication and pain medication, on Feb. 25, 2011. Because of stress and loss, he had spiraled downward in severe depression and started using crack cocaine during the approximately eight weeks before Parker’s death, Coleman said.
She said Hutcheson’s capacity to think clearly and rationally and to consider consequences before doing anything was significantly impaired.
Dr. George Patrick Corvin, a forensic psychiatrist, testified that during the weeks leading up to Hutcheson’s arrest, he was using four classes of drugs in escalating amounts.
Corvin said he believes that Hutcheson’s ability to weigh the consequences of his actions and to control his impulses were substantially impaired.
Prosecutors pointed out that some of the information medical experts used for their evaluations came from the defendant.
The trial will continue at 9:30 a.m. today.