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Legal experts call Michael Elder murder trial “a hard case to present”

OKLAHOMA – Testimony continued Thursday in a local pastor’s murder trial.

Michael Elder, of Cross Baptist Church, is accused of killing 27-year-old Gary Davidson during a domestic dispute in February of 2013.

On the stand today, the victim’s mother who recalled an ominous phone call with the suspect, before the murder. Also, a convicted felon who was also a member of elder’s church.

There is a lot of back story and he said she said and several dramatic confrontations that led up to the day of Gary’s death.

Legal expert Jacqui Ford says both sides have a tough job fishing through it all and making things clear for the jury.

“Often times what happened on this very specific day isn’t the only thing that’s important,” says Ford. “The relationships and what happened and what built up to this incident becomes relevant.”

Gary Davidson’s mother Beverly spoke with Michael Elder during a confrontation days before Gary’s death.

Over the phone she asked him, “Why are you there?”

He responded “I’m standing here protecting the property with a gun in my pocket.”

She then said, “But they’re still married.” To which Elder responded, “Not after today.”

As April Davidson’s relationship with Gary became rockier, her father enlisted the help of church member Steven Kirby, who was also a convicted felon.

Something Ford says could either help or hurt Elder’s case.

“We have different means of which we can impeach a person’s credibility,” says Ford. “Often times we do that with prior felony convictions.”

Attorneys spent Thursday morning fishing through text messages that include some of the most incriminating evidence against both sides.

According to the prosecution, Kirby asked Elder for Gary’s number and starting texting him threatening messages.

To which Gary replied, “You have a one-sided story.”

Kirby responded “I can see how you would feel threatened since you like to scare women.”

Some texts are deleted and some witnesses don’t remember the texts they’d sent, which Ford says makes the case that much harder.

Ford says, “It becomes difficult for the lawyers to be able to piece together the evidence as they want to present it.”