Crime

Court: Phenix City homicide victim found hogtied in apartment

The day Curtis Durall Newsome was charged with Caneya T. Webb’s murder, two Edmond Estates maintenance employees worked unaware that only a thin wall separated them from the 26-year-old woman’s body, according to court testimony.

Webb, a Phenix City mother of three who also went by Candy, was discovered hogtied by her father June 28, 2013, after another family member expressed concerns about her whereabouts. Webb’s father testified Monday afternoon during the opening of Newsome’s capital murder trial in the Russell County Judicial Center.

During his opening remarks, Defense Attorney Eric Funderburk asked jury members to give his client the consideration they would themselves want in Newsome’s position.

“Just like voting, I believe you are exercising your rights to direct government when you serve in this position,” Funderbark said. “Think of how much time and attention you would want to pay if you were sitting there.”

Webb’s story starts with a missed lunch date with her mother at noon that Friday, Assistant District Attorney Max Smith told the court. “The two were close, and mom got concerned when Candy didn’t arrive,” Smith said. “She went to her apartment, knocked on the door, banged on the door, but no one answered.”

Three hours later, two maintenance workers arrived at Webb’s apartment to replace a broken motor in the air conditioning unit. The workers let themselves in after knocking repeatedly and determining nobody was home, according to testimony.

About 10 minutes after they arrived, Webb’s father arrived and asked if he could search the apartment for his daughter.

“I got a call from my sister to see if I’d heard from Candy,” the father testified Monday. “Her kids were staying with my sister, so I went to go check on her.”

After chatting with the maintenance members for around 30 minutes, Webb’s father remembered that he did not search the main bathroom, which was locked. The father forced the door open and found Webb face down in the tub, tied with electrical cord. Her left eye was bruised and swollen shut, according to court testimony.

Several photos of the crime scene were shown to the jury during Monday’s proceedings. Webb’s body was obscured by a partially drawn fuchsia, red and pink shower curtain. She was in only her underwear when her body was discovered.

One maintenance worker testified he had to hold Webb’s father back from the body to prevent him from disturbing the evidence. The man repeatedly cried out “he killed my baby,” the crew member testified.

The maintenance workers cleared and locked the apartment before alerting management and police.

An autopsy later determined Webb was strangled. Authorities also determined Webb was pregnant at the time of the murder, according to earlier Ledger-Enquirer reports.

During Monday’s trial, neighbors and relatives testified about their interactions with Webb leading up to her death. Webb’s cousin told the court Newsome and Webb were last seen at her apartment the day before she was found in the tub. The couple left in Webb’s red SUV, according to court testimony.

At around 2:17 a.m., a neighbor told police she heard a loud booming sound her then-3-year-old son assumed was someone breaking into their apartment. When the woman discovered the noise came from a different apartment, she went back to sleep, according to court testimony.

Twenty minutes later, Newsome arrived at a friend’s house, the assistant district attorney told the court. He began asking whether his friend had a weapon or knew of someone who would be willing to sell one, Smith said.

Newsome was arrested in Troup County around 6 a.m. before Webb’s body was found. He initially was pulled over for driving too slow in the passing lane near the I-185 and I-85 connection. Also charged with driving with a suspended license, Newsome later was developed as a suspect in Webb’s homicide.

Smith told the jury during Monday’s trial that when Webb’s family members realized Webb was missing and heard Newsome had been arrested in Troup County, they called the Troup County Sheriff’s Office and begged law enforcement not to release him. Smith asked the jury to consider the family and the victim’s life while making their decision.

“It’s my hope that over the next couple of days you will remember her like this — alive and full of hopes,” Smith said, showing the jury a beaming picture of Webb. He then showed the jury a picture of her body, bound in the bath tub.

“I also hope you will remember her like this — when he was finished with her,” he said.

Judge Albert Johnson heard six witnesses before calling Monday’s proceedings to a close. The trial will resume Tuesday at 9 a.m.

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