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Fresh DNA sought from woman accused of killing mom

Franklin County prosecutors in Superior Court on Thursday asked for a fresh DNA sample from Tashia Stuart, who is accused of first-degree murder in the shooting death of her mother.

Prosecutor Shawn Sant said he needs a new saliva sample from Stuart to compare with previous DNA samples collected from evidence in the case -- including the gun Stuart allegedly used to kill her mother.

The DNA samples tested by the state crime lab yielded an "unknown" result, and Sant said he wants to have that sample compared with DNA profiles for Tashia Stuart, her estranged husband Todd Stuart, and her mother Judy Hebert.

But attorney Bob Thompson, who is representing Tash-ia Stuart, argued that prosecutors already took DNA from his client and shouldn't need another sample.

He also said that processing an additional sample would cost more time and money for the state.

"I may be back in court to request additional funding," Thompson told Judge Cameron Mitchell.

Hebert was killed in March 2011, and Tashia Stuart has claimed self-defense in the slaying.

Stuart has said she shot her mother after Hebert came at her with an ax. That day, the women argued about a $300 withdrawal Stuart made without permission from her mother's bank account, court documents stated.

In a separate case, Todd Stuart is charged with attempted first-degree murder for allegedly plotting to kill Hebert less than a month before she died.

Prosecutors allege that while living with Hebert, Tashia and Todd Stuart tried to kill Hebert by dropping an 18-gallon bin of books on the older woman's head. Todd Stuart allegedly got Hebert to stand in a certain spot in the garage, while Tashia Stuart hid in the rafters to push the bin.

Hebert suffered a severe head injury in the Feb. 20, 2011, incident, and reportedly told neighbors and other people that she suspected her daughter and son-in-law were trying to kill her, according to documents.

Mitchell on Aug. 17 will consider whether to exclude Hebert's statements from being heard during the trial, as well as whether to exclude the testimony of Tashia Stuart's 7-year-old daughter, who was a witness to the shooting.

Mitchell also will consider Sant's request for a new DNA sample.

The trial is set to start Oct. 24, but Thompson said a delay may be necessary because he just this week received a disc of evidence in the case related to blood at the crime scene.

Thompson said he immediately sent the disc to a defense expert for analysis, but is uncertain a report can be completed in time.

-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; mdupler@tricityherald.com

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