KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- The trial for two accused murderers is underway at the Knox County courthouse.
Destiny and Robert Wayne Hurst are charged in Jim Mullins' murder. He was shot to death at his Rutledge Pike Discount Store in 2009.
Tuesday, the prosecution called a key witness, Michelle Smith, who lived with the accused murderers in 2009.
Smith testified the trio used to "hustle" for pills together. She said the Hursts were on a desperate search for pill money the day Mullins was robbed and shot to death.
She added a month before Mullins was murdered, she and the Hursts made a trip to the Kohl's in Kingsport, stealing clothes, jewelry, and the shoes investigators believe Hurst was wearing at the Discount Store on September 22nd. They found a bloody shoe print on the floor, but as the defense pointed out, the shoes were never recovered.
The victim's brother, Sonny Mullins, said the defense was trying to "muddy the waters."
Mullins and his family listened as Smith recalled the details of September 22nd and the days following.
Mullins said, "Hearing what happened to my brother, step by step, even though I knew, was about more than I could stand."
Smith added that the day Mullins was murdered, she and the Hursts tried unsuccessfully to rob three stores. They needed drug money, she said.
According to her testimony, after they got home the Hursts went out again. When they returned later, Wayne had gashes on his arm and Destiny had blood on her clothes. They also had pills, cigarettes, money and a gun.
In her most chilling account, Smith recalled a conversation she had with Destiny in December 2009 when she admitted using her belt to strangle the Mullins during the robbery.
Sonny was horrified.
"They slaughtered my brother. People don't do that, only animals do stuff like that," he said.
Defense attorney Bruce Poston pointed out, Smith has a history of drug use, and was addicted to pills in the fall and winter of 2009. She's currently incarcerated for violating probation, and has three aggravated burglary charges pending against her.