Testimony in Terrance Black Murder Trial Continues - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Testimony in Terrance Black Murder Trial Continues



    Plano Detective Takes Stand in Black Trial

    Plano police testify in day two of the murder trial of Terrance Black. Black is accused of capital murder in the death of his former girlfriend, Frisco pilates instructor Susan Loper. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012)

    Day two of testimony continued Tuesday morning in the murder trial of Terrance Black.

    Black is accused of capital murder in the death of his former girlfriend, Frisco pilates instructor Susan Loper.

    The prosecution opened the morning with witness Detective Joel Scott Epperson of the Plano Police Department, a detective who responded to Loper’s pilates studio at Gleneagles Country Club.

    Detective Epperson told prosecutors he found the pilates room in “disarray”, showing photos of a potted plant knocked over and a coffee cup on its side, saying “it seems like there had been a struggle there.”

    While police did not find a “significant amount of blood” in the studio, according to Epperson, the detective testified that there was an area on the nearby sidewalk  with blood stains, as well as an area of “significant” dark blood on the roadway, which Detective Epperson said would indicate a “serious wound." Epperson said there was also a small amount of blood on a concrete pad near the studio’s back door.

    The detective added that police found a hair tie at the scene.

    Epperson said police also found three live rounds of 9mm ammunition, two inside the yoga studio and another in front of the building’s front door. Live ammunition means those bullets had not been fired.

    “I think Susan Loper has been violently kidnapped and has been injured during the kidnapping,” he said. “I was alarmed at her purse being at the scene, her cell phone being at the scene, her car being missing.”

    “I knew it was going to be a significant case and investigation,” Epperson said.

    Epperson said Plano police also contacted the North Texas Tollway Authority to locate Loper’s vehicle, testifying that NTTA toll tag data helped set a timeline for where Loper’s vehicle traveled after, he said, “the abduction”.

    Detective Epperson said Loper’s vehicle passed through a toll station, at 6:09 a.m, showing the vehicle heading north on the Dallas North Tollway near Park Blvd. on the morning of the abduction.

    At 6:13 a.m, police said the data showed the vehicle still heading north on the tollway in the Spring Creek area, before eventually exiting at the Lebanon exit in Frisco.

    “For some reason, it is off the grid for about 17 minutes,” said Detective Epperson.

    Epperson testified the vehicle then traveled southbound on the DNT, before exiting near the Park Blvd exit at 6:38 a.m.

    Loper’s vehicle was not located by police until 12:30 a.m. the following day, parked at an apartment complex near the intersection of Park Blvd. and Preston Rd. in Plano.

    Epperson testified a fellow officer reported the presence of blood in the SUV.

    Black's trial started on Aug. 20 in Collin County. If convicted, Black faces an automatic life sentence without parole.

    NBC 5's Catherine Ross is in the courtroom and will continue to provide updates as testimony goes on.