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Witnesses place Smith in neighborhood before Raleigh mom murder

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Travion Devonte Smith

Two women took the witness stand Friday and said Travion Devonte Smith was in the North Hills neighborhood the night 30-year-old Melissa Huggins-Jones was beaten and stabbed to death in her apartment on May 14, 2013.

The manager of a Ben & Jerry's at the North Hills shopping center told jurors she saw Smith and the two others charged in Huggins-Jones' murder that night. So did a hostess at the Bonefish Grill.

The businesses are just across the Raleigh Beltline from the apartment complex where the murder happened.

Jurors had already heard Sarah Redden, Ronald Anthony Jr., and Smith - who is on trial for his life - were breaking into cars just prior to the murder - even taking small items from consoles like paper clips, tacks, and change.

That was confirmed by the Bonefish Grill worker who saw those items on a patio table where the trio was sitting.

"It was odd because I didn't think anyone on a regular day would be carrying those type of materials in their pocket. It was random," said Sarah Melvin.

Prosecutors allege Smith and Anthony climbed up to a second-floor balcony and got into Huggins-Jones' through an unlocked door.

Her 8-year-old daughter found her body.

Redden, who agreed to testify against Smith, was on the witness stand Thursday. She said she acted as a lookout, but didn't take part in the murder.

Last September, Anthony pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. The plea deal spared him the death penalty.

Friday's testimony ended with the courtroom cameras turned off as a jailhouse informant - who didn't want to be publically identified - took the stand to say Smith told him about his role in the murder.

Testimony will resume Monday morning.

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