Attorneys duel over evidence in mother-daughter murders

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Local,Maryland,Crime,Matt Connolly,Prince Georges County

Attorneys dueled Tuesday over whether evidence placed an Upper Marlboro man whom police have called a serial killer at the crime scenes in the case of the slayings of 42-year-old Delores Dewitt and her 20-year-old daughter, Ebony.

In opening statements at the murder trial of Jason Scott, prosecutors painted him as a burglar and home invader who could be tied to the victims through clothes fragments -- pieces of jeans and a gray sweater that belonged to Delores and Ebony Dewitt were allegedly found in Scott's house -- and the stolen car that the victims' remains were eventually found in.

Prince George's County Assistant State's Attorney Christine Murphy told jurors at federal court in Greenbelt that Scott broke into Sybil Felton's Largo home in February 2009 and stole the spare keys to her Nissan Maxima. Two weeks later, Murphy said, Scott stole the car and stashed the bodies inside before setting it aflame.

Felton called 911 after 3 a.m. on March 16 when she returned from a trip to find her car gone. Authorities found the car engulfed in flames, eventually finding the charred remains of Dolores Dewitt in the trunk and Ebony in the backseat.

Harry Trainor, Scott's defense attorney, acknowledged his client's previous run-ins with the law, but said it was a stretch to connect him to the actual killings.

"You're not going to like what you hear about Jason Scott. It's not going to be pleasant," Trainor told jurors before adding, "The bottom line will be this: Jason Scott was not the source of DNA or any evidence left by perpetrators at the crime scene."

Scott was sentenced to 100 years in prison for federal crimes relating to home invasions, child pornography and firearms charges. He is a suspect in the killing of another Largo mother and daughter, 45-year-old Karen Lofton and 16-year-old Karissa Lofton, as well as the 2008 slaying of 47-year-old Vilma Butler in Bowie.

The start of Scott's trial was delayed Tuesday morning after the lead witness set to testify against him attempted suicide.

Another daughter of Delores Dewitt who was going to be a key witness for the state attempted suicide Monday night, according to officials in the State's Attorney's Office.

mconnolly@washingtonexaminer.com

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