Clayton Trial Day 27: Defense Rests Its Case

Closing arguments to begin Tuesday

BATH, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - It was a packed courtroom as the sixth week of the murder-for-hire trial against Thomas Clayton comes to an end.

Judge Peter Bradstreet began the day by dismissing everyone in the court for about 5-10 minutes while a legal matter was taken care of. 

Before resting its case, the defense called Clayton's mother, Phyllis, and her boyfriend, Robert Bates, to testify.

Bates, who worked with Phyllis, said she filled out a time-off form in September 2015. He said she had her bags packed and was ready to visit the Claytons on Sept. 28.

After work kept her late on Sept. 28, Phyllis decided to stay in New Jersey. She said she never called her son or Kelley to let them know she would not be coming nor did they reach out to her.

The prosecution pointed out that there was no evidence of Phyllis' impending visit in the phone extraction evidence. The defense introduced the time-off sheet into evidence. 

Bates also quoted remediation work at the Clayton home for more than $30,000, but Clayton and his father ended up doing the work. 

Court adjourned for the day just after 11:30 a.m. after the prosecution did not call any rebuttal witnesses.

The jury will hear closing arguments Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the prosecution rested and the defense began presenting its case. A total of 75 witnesses testified in the case, with the last 10 being called by the defense.

Clayton, who is currently free on bail, pleaded not guilty in December 2015 to one count of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder in connection with Kelley's death.

Beard was found guilty in November 2016 of first- and second-degree murder. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 27.

Mark Blandford is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of burglary and two counts of conspiracy. Those charges will be reduced to second-degree manslaughter in exchange for testimony. He is currently in Steuben County Jail.

Follow 18 News reporter Tanner Jubenville and WETM 18 News on Twitter for the latest developments.

Stick with 18 News and for complete coverage throughout the trial.

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