Emotional testimony from sister, uncle of murdered Escondido girl in retrial of Richard Tuite

Stephanie Crowe stabbed to death in 1998

SAN DIEGO - The sister and uncle of murder victim Stephanie Crowe testified Monday in the retrial of Richard Tuite in a downtown San Diego courtroom.

Shannon Crowe was 10 years old when Stephanie was stabbed to death in 1998 in the bedroom of her home in rural Escondido.

She remembers, "A lot of yelling." 

The prosecutor led her through those terrifying minutes.

Prosecutor: "And who was yelling?"

Shannon: "Mostly my dad."

Prosecutor: "And what did that yelling sound like?"

Shannon: "Um … He was ... I guess scared.  Um … I heard him say, 'God, no!'"

It is the second manslaughter trial for Tuite, a transient seen in the neighborhood that night and convicted after a spot of Stephanie's blood was discovered on his shirt.

The new trial was ordered because the appellate court ruled a witness was not allowed to be properly questioned.

Defense attorney Brad Patton grilled Shannon about inconsistencies in her statements to police early in the investigation and later. 

Deputy Attorney General Alana Butler then questioned her about her state of mind at the time.

Shannon: "I guess I was … I was really confused, scared." 

Butler: "Did you feel any sense of pressure to answer questions to try and help the police?"

Shannon: "Yes, I mean I guess so. I just wanted to help."

The Crowe children's uncle, Michael Kennedy, was also emotional as he relived that tragic morning.

Patton will try to convince the jury that Stephanie's brother, Michael, and two friends killed her. The motive: jealousy.

They were initially charged but later released and Tuite prosecuted.

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