Victim’s mother and defendant testify in first degree murder trial

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Key witnesses testified for both sides in a Chattanooga man’s first degree murder trial.

It was an emotional day of testimony at Tyrone Murphy’s trial. He is accused of stabbing 30 year old Ashley Cates at her Bailey Avenue apartment in June of 2017.

On Thursday morning Cates’ mother, Janice Mosteller, took the stand. She told the jury she visited her daughter the night before she was found dead.

Mosteller said the next day her daughter was supposed to be dog sitting for a family friend. That woman called saying she couldn’t reach Cates.

“She said, ‘Won’t you try to call her? Try to figure out what is going on.’ And I did and no response,” Mosteller recalled.

She and her husband, went to check on Cates. No one answered when they banged on the door, but they were eventually able pry it open and get in.

“I saw my daughter, her laying there with knife wounds all over her and her hands crossed over her, just covered in knife wounds,” Mosteller said through tears.

Later in the dater Murphy testified in his own trial. He said when he got home late at night is was Cates who was at the top of the stairs, threatening him with two knifes. Murphy says he defended himself.

“I grabbed her arms, her wrists. We were right there at King’s door now and that is when the struggle started right there all across the hallway, her door wide open,” Murphy said.

Prosecutors and defense attorney will present their closing arguments on Friday morning. After that, the case will go to the jury.

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