Bedford takes stand, maintains innocence

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers

ALBUQUERQUE — Stanley Bedford told jurors he’s no murderer Monday.

Bedford, 43, testified in his capital murder trial that he hates the thought of dead people so much he can’t even attend family funerals, and he certainly wouldn’t have let Jerry Fuller set a car on fire if he knew people were inside the trunk.

“If I’d have known the Newmans were in that car,” Bedford said. “I’d have never been around that car.”

Prosecutors allege Bedford helped Jerry Fuller rob Doris and Odis Newman on March 3, 2005, and was the one who decided to burn them in the car. Bedford and his defense have said he never knew the Newmans or where they lived, and only came into the affair when Fuller needed a ride because his car ran out of gas.

Bedford is charged with two counts each of murder, kidnapping, and tampering with evidence and one charge of possession of stolen property. He may face the death penalty if convicted.

Bedford was the last of four witnesses in the defense’s case, which started Monday morning. He kept most answers short, and had a tough time when he told jurors about the car fire that killed the Newmans.

After the fire, Bedford said Fuller asked for a ride to a house in the country, and he got lost trying to get back home. When he returned, Fuller was at his house wanting another ride. He wanted nothing to do with Fuller. Bedford’s roommate, Archie Crawford, gave Fuller the ride instead.

Bedford was arrested March 7, 2005, in Clovis after he and two roommates were trying to pawn jewelry belonging to Doris Newman. He told the jury he found the jewelry in the Dodge Neon after he gave Fuller a ride, but told people he found it while “dumpster diving” to distance himself from Fuller.

On cross-examination, prosecutor Michael Cox said Bedford’s story was full of inconsistencies. He outlined several calls to and from his house to Fuller’s cell phone in the hours following the car fire. Bedford had previously said he didn’t know Fuller that well.

“A lot of phone calls back and forth between Jerry Fuller’s cell phone and your house,” Cox said, “but you didn’t know Jerry Fuller?”

Cox also asked about statements Bedford gave to police, and contradictions that arose. Bedford said the first time he was interviewed by police was after he was arrested in Clovis, and he lied because he feared serious charges if he associated himself with Fuller.

As part of his plea bargain, Fuller agreed to testify against Bedford. Fuller was sentenced to 127 years in prison earlier this year for kidnapping and killing his aunt and uncle.

Closing arguments are today.