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Quanell X testifies about Tynesha Stewart's murder

Oct. 3, 2008

HOUSTON-Quanell X was the latest witness to take the stand Friday in the trial of accused killer , delivering testimony that some believe could determine the outcome of the case.

Prosecutors say Shepherd killed his ex-girlfriend, , dismembered her body, burned her remains on his patio grills and threw them in a dumpster last March.

Stewart, a freshman at Texas A&M, was home for spring break when she disappeared. She was last seen alive at Shepherd's northeast Houston apartment complex.

Police considered Shepherd a suspect and interviewed him several times, but it was Quanell who allegedly got Shepherd to confess to the crime.

Before testifying Friday, Quanell met briefly with Stewart's mother in a witness holding area at the courthouse.

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Once he took the stand, Quanell described the time he spent at Shepherd's apartment.

He showed jurors the bathroom where he said Shepherd became nervous and agitated.

He described how Shepherd began to cry, saying, "I just don't want the death penalty."

Quanell said when he asked Shepherd if Stewart was dead, he nodded his head yes.

He called it a watershed moment: It was when he knew the man he had come to meet with that day was a killer.

"I said, 'Did you put her in something?' He said, 'Yes I did. I put it in the dumpster,'" Quanell told jurors.

Though prosecutors hope the testimony will convince the jury of Shepherd's guilt, defense attorneys said it actually helped their case.

"It clearly illustrated law enforcement's repeated refusal to honor Mr. Shepherd's request for a lawyer to be present," defense attorney Chip Lewis said.

According to Lewis, that makes whatever Shepherd said to the activist almost irrelevant.

Earlier in the week, a string of Stewart's friends and classmates took the stand. They described Shepherd as a who threatened to kill Stewart when he learned she was dating another man.

But Shepherd's attorneys said it was hardly a one-sided relationship.

"Tynesha was very much in love with Tim. She pursued the relationship, and he reciprocated," Lewis said Wednesday.

Because a body was never found, the defense is hoping for an acquittal.

Still, even though Stewart's remains were not recovered, investigators found her teeth in the garbage disposal at Shepherd's apartment.

"Tim never showed any remorse for Tynesha," Quanell said.

Shepherd could face life in prison if convicted.