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Jurors in murder trial hear teen's tale of killings

Teenager Bobby Garner told the detective that yeah, he was in the house when the old lady and her son got killed.

Yeah, he kicked them, while they lay on their living room carpet and the man begged for mercy.

But he kicked them to help them, Garner said in a taped statement. He was trying to keep them down on the floor, so his friend Alvin Morton would not kill them. "That was the last thing I wanted to happen in that house," Garner said. "Murder."

But murder it was. On Wednesday, the jury in Garner's murder trial listened to Garner describe on tape how his friend killed his former neighbors on Jan. 26, 1992.

Morton shot John Bowers, 55, in the back of the head while Bowers' mother, Madeline Weisser, shrieked in terror. The 75-year-old grandmother was stabbed in the neck eight times and nearly decapitated.

In his taped statement, made to sheriff's Detective William Lawless the day after the murders, Garner said he watched Morton kill the pair. Besides the kicks, Garner said, he took no part in the slaughter.

Morton, in his confession, would later blame Garner for severing Weisser's spine, by jumping on the knife after it was stuck in Weisser's neck. But Garner told Lawless that he stabbed no one and never hurt either victim intentionally.

Other witnesses testified Wednesday that Garner, now 19, took part in conversations about murdering the couple before the deed, and bragged about the part he played afterward.

Jeff Madden, a friend of Morton's, said he unknowingly contributed to the gruesomeness of the crime by jokingly telling Morton to bring him a pinkie finger.

On the night of Jan. 26, Morton arrived at his house with Garner, and two other teens who would later be charged in connection with the murders.

Timothy Kane, who accompanied Morton and Garner inside the house, faces the same charges: two counts of first-degree murder. Chris Walker, who ran away before Morton kicked in the door, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit armed robbery and accessory to murder.

As the foursome crowded into Madden's bedroom, Morton dropped a freshly severed pinklie finger on Madden's bed and said Garner chopped it off.

Garner denied the mutilation, but bragged of stabbing the old woman in the neck, Madden said. Garner also laughed about the funny noise it made when he ran the huge combat knife down the woman's spine, Madden said.

In his taped statement, Garner said the teens were just going to burglarize the house. Morton surprised them by getting violent with Weisser and Bowers, Garner said. He didn't know the shotgun was loaded, Garner said.

Garner also offered Lawless another rationale for the severed pinkie.

Morton wanted to impress a drug dealer with his ruthlessness, and had planned to rob the couple and "make it look good" so the drug dealer would let Morton work for him, Garner said.

The pinkie was a trophy, to show the drug dealer that he really had killed someone, Garner said.

Morton told them later that being a murderer was disappointing, Garner said. "Well, I expected a rush," said Garner, quoting Morton. "I didn't even get that."

Morton threated his friends after the killings, Garner said, and told them they had to keep quiet.

"I know it," Garner said he told Morton. "We'll all go to jail just because we were there."