Thompson Murder Trial Begins; Prosecution Presents Surveillance Video

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Testimony is underway in the trial of a Bay County man charged with murdering a co-worker at a Panama City Beach seafood store.

Orlando Thompson, 27, is facing 2nd degree murder in the June 2015 fatal stabbing of Caleb, also known as Josh Halley at Buddy's Seafood Market.

Thompson is accused of taking a 15-inch sword and slashing Halley's mid-section several times during an argument over a gumbo recipe. 

Prosecutors and defense attorneys for Thompson began presenting their opening statements Tuesday.

Then prosecutors began calling witnesses to build their case against Thompson for the murder of Halley.

Panama City Beach Lt. Talamantez explained surveillance video of the deadly fight to the jury.

Two different camera angles show Halley approaching Thompson to discuss the amount of season Thompson was putting in the gumbo.

The argument then turned into a shoving match.

"The fist fight never happens. The video shows this defendant spinning around and picking up a piece of lumber," said Prosecutor Bob Sombathy.

The state claims Halley then pulled out a small knife.

"You then see Josh Halley pulling out a pocket knife, you see Josh Halley with a pocket knife and Thompson with a piece of lumber," said Prosecutor Bob Sombathy.

Sombathy said Thompson then trades the lumber for a broom or mop.

Halley then puts away the knife and grabs the lumber.

At that point prosecutors say Thompson went back inside the store and grabbed a small sword.

"Now we have a few more seconds of now both sides having weapons. One side having the mop and one side having the decorative sword," said Defense Attorney Alvin Peters.

Then the video shows the two men lunge at the other. 

"Mr. Thompson does not fall but he splashes forward, and in the course of that encounter is where we submit to you the wound occurs," said Peters.

Prosecutors also presented video of Thompson's interview following the incident.

The trial will continue until Thursday.

If convicted, Thompson faces up to 15 years in prison.


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