Murder Victim's Daughter Testifies In Father's Trial

Murder Victim's Daughter Testifies In Father's Trial

The teenage daughter of a murdered Lexington woman's daughter testifies in her father's trial.

     It's been a week since the trial began and there's been some very emotional testimony.  For the first time Tuesday, we heard from the teenage daughter of the murdered woman as she took the stand to testify in her father's trial.

     "Do you want to be here today?" asks the Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Kathy Phillips.

     "No, not really," answers Almira Fawn Southworth.

     That's how the 14-year-old Almira felt about taking the stand Tuesday.  Her father Donald Southworth is accused of killing his wife and her mother, Umi in June 2010.  Almira testified that she was aware of her parents' marital problems.  She says she and her mother were getting ready to move to Nashville without her father so she could pursue her musical career.  The day before they were supposed to leave, Umi was found badly beaten in the backyard of the family's Meadowthorpe apartment complex.  She later died from her injuries.

     "I figured that they were probably going to get a divorce and that mom would move down to Nashville and I would go there but I figured that I would go up and see dad sometimes too," explains Almira.

     Almira testified Tuesday morning for about an hour and a half.  She was confident and calm during her testimony, at times yawning and even putting her head down to think. She is now in the custody of her talent agent and living in Nashville.  Almira testified that, one morning, her mother didn't say goodbye to her before leaving for work, which was odd.  Almira discovered her mother's car was still there but thought maybe she had gotten a ride to work.  It wasn't until some of her mother's co-workers from Fazoli's showed up at their apartment, that she became alarmed.  Those co-workers, and Almira, then went outside to search for Umi.

     "We found a shoe beside her car and I think her keys were in the middle of the yard, kind of near the trash cans," comments Almira.

     Almira says her father Donald wasn't home at this time, but she called him and he said he was on his way.  As time passed, she says they both became worried, "I kind of thought he was acting like me, I mean, just getting more and more concerned and just starting to panic a little bit."

     Almira also testified that she didn't think her mother Umi and her music producer John DeGrazio were having an affair.

     "She thought of him as her, like, brother," says Almira.

     DeGrazio also denied an affair when he took the stand, "there was never anything inappropriate, there was no flirtations ever."

     The state will continue calling witnesses Wednesday morning.  The trial is expected to wrap up Friday.
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