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Husband of slain woman testifies in Portland murder trial

Cary Scott recounts his efforts to find Margarita Fisenko Scott after he last saw her on Nov. 10, 2012.
PORTLAND, ME - SEPTEMBER 24: Anthony Pratt Jr. appeared for a final motions hearing before his trial, with attorneys Peter Cyr, left, and Dylan Boyd, far right, at the Cumberland County Courthouse on Wednesday, September 24, 2014. He is accused of murdering Margarita Fisenko Scott, whose body was found in an SUV in a hotel parking lot in Portland in 2013. (Photo by Yoon S. Byun/Staff Photographer)

ID=16417413PORTLAND, Maine (Portland Press Herald) -- Cary Scott, husband of the slain Margarita Fisenko Scott, told jurors Tuesday that he was "grasping at straws" from when he last saw his wife walking away on Nov. 10, 2012, until he made the shocking discovery two months later of her dead body in a Portland hotel parking lot.

Scott testified Tuesday during the trial of Anthony Pratt Jr., his wife's accused killer, that he never suspected she was dead until he made the gruesome discovery on Jan. 17, 2013, outside Motel 6 on Riverside Street. Up until then, he had been convinced she had run off to New York with Pratt, her drug-dealing lover.

Pratt, 21, of Queens, New York, is accused of fatally shooting Margarita Scott, 29, on Nov. 11, 2012, inside a West Concord Street apartment in Portland rented by Christopher and Tunile Jennings, where both Pratt and Scott would often stay. Margarita Scott was killed with a .40-caliber handgun that police found hidden in another Portland apartment that the Jenningses rented. DNA from Tunile and Christopher Jennings was found on the gun.

Cary Scott testified at Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland during the seventh day of Pratt's trial. He was the prosecution's second-to-last witness. Witness testimony is expected to conclude Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning after the defense calls four to six people to testify.

Pratt, who has sat mostly silent beside his attorneys throughout the trial, has yet to say whether he will testify in his own defense.

Depending on whether Pratt chooses to testify, lawyers could make their closing arguments either Wednesday morning or Wednesday afternoon before the case is turned over to jurors to decide.

Pratt's DNA was not found on the murder weapon, and evidence collected during the autopsy showed that Christopher Jennings was the last person to have sex with Scott before she died.

The lead investigator in the case, Portland Police Detective Richard Vogel, testified Monday that police first considered four suspects in the case. They investigated Cary Scott initially, then Christopher and Tunile Jennings before focusing on Pratt as the sole suspect.

Police have said they believe Scott was killed sometime between 1 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2012, when phone records show she talked with the Jenningses while they were out in Portland celebrating Christopher Jennings' birthday, and 3 a.m., when they returned to their West Concord Street apartment to find Pratt asleep on the couch and Scott gone.

A prosecution witness who lived next to the Jenningses, Kristy Jackson, said she was awake on the night of the alleged murder and saw someone matching Pratt's description carrying something that could have been a body from the apartment to Scott's vehicle outside.

No witnesses reported hearing gunfire that night, and the Jenningses testified that they saw no signs of blood or violence inside the apartment when they returned.

Neither Christopher nor Tunile Jennings has been charged in connection with Scott's death. Tunile Jennings has since moved back to Queens, New York, with their two children. Christopher Jennings still lives in Portland with friends while he is free on bail in an unrelated felony cocaine trafficking case in Maine.

Christopher Jennings admitted on the witness stand last week to lying to police repeatedly during the murder investigation. Tunile Jennings testified that she and her husband planned the lies they told police by coordinating with Pratt in New York.

Pratt has pleaded not guilty to a single count of murder and has been held without bail since his arrest in New York in April 2013.