Clayton Trial Day 8: Seven Witnesses Testify


Seven witnesses testified Thursday in Thomas Clayton’s murder trial at the Steuben County Courthouse in Bath.

The first witness to take the stand on day eight of the trial was Luke Tetreault.

The prosecution believes Clayton swapped Tetreault’s truck with Michael Beard the night of Kelley’s death on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015.

Tetreault said he worked for Clayton when he was in high school and that the Claytons were like a second family to him.

Tetreault testified that at the time of Kelley’s death, he was driving a 2007 maroon Dodge Ram truck with custom rims.

He borrowed a four wheeler from Clayton on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. Clayton called him the next day and said not to return the four wheeler to his home. Clayton told him that they would swap trucks on Monday, Sept. 28 instead.

Tetreault said he had no issue with that because he wanted to drive Clayton’s truck since it was a newer white Dodge Ram.

Tetreault also described the murder weapon used to kill Kelley as a broken maul hammer handle.

The maul hammer handle broke in 2014 while chopping wood and that it was just left on the property ever since, according to Tetreault.

The second witness to testify was Greg Miller, who hosted the poker game Clayton attended the night of Kelley’s death.

Miller said he and Clayton met six years ago and that Clayton frequently played poker at his house for about four years prior to Kelley’s death.

Miller said Clayton arrived around 8 p.m. to play poker and that the game ended somewhat early that night. According to Miller, Clayton was one of the last people to leave, despite wanting to play until 5 a.m.

Miller said he did not pay attention to people using cell phones during poker, but that it was common for people to have their phones on them.

Clayton had asked to borrow Miller’s wife, Linda’s, cell phone that night, claiming his was in his car. Miller said that his basement, where they always played poker, does get sufficient cell reception and that he had plenty of iPhone chargers for others to use. 

Miller said he spoke with Clayton a few times after Kelley’s death, including about Linda’s memory of a phone call.

Linda Miller then took the stand and testified to Clayton borrowing her phone to call a worker.

When Linda learned of Kelley’s death on the morning of Sept. 29, 2105, she later remembered Clayton used her phone and she noticed calls were deleted.

The Miller’s daughter then took the stand, testifying to retrieving the call records online, and discovering that Clayton had used Linda’s phone to call Beard at 10:53 p.m. the night Kelley was murdered.

The defense agreed to stipulate to the numbers called, which were one digit off. 

Two phone numbers were dialed when Clayton was using Linda’s phone. The first number called was a fax machine at Arnot Medical Center, the second number belonged to Beard. 

The next witness to testify was an employee with M&M Auto in Corning.

The employee, Roland Duell, said Clayton stopped in on Sept. 28, 2015 to use the landline because his cell phone wasn’t working.

Duell referred to Clayton as a regular at M&M Auto as he serviced his personal and work cars there.

A telecommunications engineer then testified to a phone call being made from M&M Auto to Beard, which lasted for one minute and nine seconds. 

The final witness to take the stand on Thursday was Kara Sheehan, a friend of the Claytons. Sheehan’s husband and Clayton are also business partners in an investment property. 

The Sheehans owned the home Beard rented, but never collected rent from him. 

Sheehan said she saw Clayton while picking up her children at gymnastics around 7 p.m. on Sept. 28, 2015, the night of Kelley’s death. Clayton left gymnastics with his daughter in a green ServPro truck, according to Sheehan.

Sheehan testified Clayton would sometimes be disrespectful to Kelley, namely by flirting with other women in front of her.

Court was adjourned for the day around 4:30 p.m. and is scheduled to resume Friday at 9:30 a.m. It is unknown at this time who will testify on Friday. 

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. His sentencing is scheduled for  Jan. 30.

Mark Blandford was charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of burglary and two counts of conspiracy. 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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