Trial in Salem murder case resumes, lawyers say prosecutors have the wrong man

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LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – As Kevin Kirby sat with his lawyers, prosecutors laid out their case for the jury in Lisbon Tuesday morning.

“The defendant is an opportunist. Mindy was the opportunity. Cole Reed was the loose end,” said Assistant Columbiana County Prosecutor Attorney Ryan Weikart.

Kirby is charged in the death of Melinda Todd back in December of 2012 as well as the assault on the victim’s grandson.

“This defendant, Kevin Kirby, beat Melinda Todd to death and took a hammer to the head of that five-year-old boy,” Weikart said.

Prosecutors claim Kirby was a drug addicted alcoholic who was nearly broke. They say he was acquainted with Todd and came to learn she had just obtained a prescription for oxycontin. Two days later, they say he went to the victim’s home in Salem Township to rob Todd and leave no witnesses behind.

“The damage to both of them was so great that it was initially thought to be a gunshot,” Weikart said.

Kirby’s lawyers argue while the crimes were horrific, prosecutors have the wrong man.

“This is a case of, it’s not direct evidence. It’s all circumstantial,” said Kirby’s lawyer Attorney James Wise.

The state’s first witness Tuesday was Todd’s daughter, who was just 12 when she and a younger sister came home from school and discovered their mother and nephew lying inside their home.

Erin Brickner, who’s now 21, told the jury the first thing she saw when she walked in the house was Todd’s grandson laying in a pool of his own blood.

“He had started to sit up once he’d seen us and he said, ‘Mommy’s friend came and beat us,'” Brickner said.

Prosecutors will call more witnesses Wednesday. Kirby faces life in prison if he’s convicted.

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