A Dothan murder trial came to a close Thursday, but the victim's case is still very much open.
“Guilty as charged” and with those words from Judge Jerry White, Tony Evans was sent back to jail where he will be for the rest of his life.
His murder conviction should bring closure to Nicole Smith's family, something they've been waiting for since her slaying in 1998. But, it hasn't.
The prosecution alleges another person was involved when Nicole was stabbed over sixty times in her apartment.
In fact, they have a good idea who it is, the victim's mother. The prosecution presented in the trial that witnesses saw Nicole’s mother Hazel enter the back of the apartment just hours after the murder. The prosecution also says Hazel hasn't cooperated with police, and showed no remorse after her daughter's death. But there isn't enough evidence to even put out a warrant for her arrest.
The whole case is actually pretty light on evidence. Evans was most probably convicted because Nicole’s blood, along with his, was found on his clothing, and authorities found his explanation rather weak. And with only suspicion linking Hazel to the murder, her possible secret could die, along with Evans, behind bars.
Evans was already in prison for burglary when authorities matched up the DNA on the blood they found to him.