Girlfriend testifies in trial of man accused in Raleigh mom murder

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Sarah Redden testifies

Sarah Redden took the witness stand Thursday in Travion Devonte Smith's trial for the 2013 murder of Raleigh mother Melissa Huggins-Jones.

Redden was the alleged lookout during the crime and was dating another man accused in the case.

Huggins-Jones, 30, had just moved to Raleigh from Tennessee for a job when she was found dead on May 14, 2013, at her apartment in Raleigh's North Hills community.

At the time, Redden was dating Ronald Lee Anthony Jr., who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder last September in a deal to avoid the death penalty.

Prosecutors say the trio were breaking into cars in the neighborhood before Huggins-Jones' murder. Redden told jurors Thursday they wore gloves and were taking items like GPS units and other valuables.

Redden said Smith and Anthony left her. That's when prosecutors say they shimmied up onto a second-floor apartment's balcony and found an unlocked door. They then allegedly took turns stabbing Huggins-Jones.

Redden said in court Thursday she saw Smith on the balcony wiping it down with a shirt. She told him she'd seen a police car driving by and they needed to leave.

After the group left, Redden testified that she saw Anthony show a bloody knife to a friend who gave them a ride.

Redden says they went to a hotel and Smith asked Anthony, "What the hell just happened?"

Smith's defense says Anthony was the killer. Before Redden testified Thursday in front of the jury, she was interviewed by both the defense and prosecution. During that testimony, Redden said Anthony replied, "She screamed and I had to shut her up."

The jury did not hear that testimony.

Neither side brought that up when Redden testified in front of the jury. It's not clear why but it was possibly for tactical reasons. And, in the end, both sides got some of what they wanted. Redden helped the defense by putting a bloody knife in Anthony's hand. And prosecutors got Redden to say she saw blood on Smith's shirt.

While Redden has agreed to testify, she also faces charges in the case.

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