CLINTON — Jurors in the second-degree murder trial of a Roseland man heard recordings and read transcripts Wednesday of his statements to detectives investigating the death of the defendant’s girlfriend, whose body was found in a car parked on the side of Plank Road in East Feliciana Parish.
Closing arguments in the case against Antwoene Irving, 34, are scheduled Thursday morning before the jury of nine women and three men. Twentieth Judicial District Judge George H. Ware Jr. is presiding over the case.
Irving faces an automatic life sentence if found guilty as charged in the death of Kiewanna Sopsher, 33, also of Roseland. Irving did not testify during the trial.
Prosecutors Lea Hall and Amanda McClung called numerous witnesses over the course of three days, but defense attorneys Chuck Ward and Cy D’Aquila called only one witness before Ward said the state had not met its burden of proof and they would call no more witnesses.
Ware told the jury to disregard the remark.
The state contends Irving attacked his girlfriend on the night of April 5, 2011, when he drove up to her house, choked and beat her, fended off her son’s attempt to defend his mother and then drove away with her in her car.
A few minutes later, Sopsher suffered fatal injuries when she was pushed or jumped out of the moving car on a street in Roseland, a town in Tangipahoa Parish.
Hall told the jury on Monday it does not matter, according to state law, whether Irving pushed her out of the car or she jumped.
Irving should be found guilty of second-degree murder because Sopsher died while Irving was engaged in a second-degree kidnapping.
Jurors heard Irving tell detectives he was angry at Sopsher because he suspected her of having sex with her estranged husband while Irving was in the hospital.
He denied pushing her from the car, telling detectives he tried to keep her from jumping out of the car.
After turning the car around, Irving said, he found Sopsher bloodied and unresponsive, and he put her body on the floor of the rear passenger area of her car.
In an April 25, 2011, interview, Irving told two Tangipahoa Parish sheriff’s deputies he saw blood gushing from Sopsher’s body when he picked her up.
“And it’s like, when I seen the blood, I just, just lost it. I didn’t know what to do,” Irving told the officers.
Asked in an earlier interview what he did next, Irving replied, “I drove. I drove. I drove. I could just drive.”
Hall said on Monday that Irving drove for approximately three hours over several parishes and part of Pike County, Miss., before the car stopped in East Feliciana Parish near the intersection of Plank Road and La. 412.
Irving told officers he started walking toward Zachary and a relative made arrangements for him to surrender to Zachary police.