Missing or murdered: Prosecution rests in Thomas Skeek trial
The state rested its case in the murder trial of Thomas Skeek on Thursday, but not before presenting a final witness who testified about the last time Linda Skeek's children saw their mother.
Thomas Skeek is accused of killing his wife Linda early on New Year Day in 2016. Her body has never been found.
State prosecutor James Fayette said it happened after an argument in the Morningside Loop apartment the couple shared with their children, who were 5 and 7 years old at the time.
The court heard how after their mother went missing, the children, Thomas Jr. and Arreina Skeek, went to live with their mother's uncle, Robert Sheldon in Kotzebue. By September of 2017, Sheldon was seeking counseling for the children. He said he was talking with them about their feelings when Arreina Skeek burst into tears and told him about what she saw that night after hearing her parents argue.
"She had started to go down the stairs; both she and Thomas were crying, but she tried to make it downstairs to see what was going on," said Sheldon. "She said she got partway down the stairs when she saw her mom's feet by the bathroom with blood all around it."
The state has presented evidence that blood in the apartment belonged to Linda Skeek. But the defense said there's no evidence her husband killed her or even that she's dead.
Witnesses for the defense included a former neighbor, Clifford Cox, who testified from Washington State via Skype. Cox shared a wall with the Skeeks' apartment but said he heard nothing New Year's Eve or early New Year's Day that sounded suspicious. He said he slept soundly through the night.
The final witness presented by the defense on Thursday was another neighbor, Tonia Rorem. Rorem testified she saw Linda Skeek leaving her apartment on foot, shortly before 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Rorem said Skeek was wearing red and seemed happy to be going out to celebrate.
"She said she was going to paint the town red, it's a metaphor saying you are going to go out and have fun," Rorem replied to an attorney's question.
Rorem offered Skeek a ride, but she declined. Rorem said she noticed Skeek's family was coming up behind her, so she told Linda Skeek to stay safe and drove away.
The defense will continue presenting its case on Monday, but hasn't said whether Thomas Skeek will take the stand.
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