A man who lived above the apartment of Old Town Alexandria real estate agent Elizabeth Elliott and her associate, Karl von Lewinski, testified in Alexandria Circuit Court yesterday that he heard moaning sounds the night the couple was slain.
J. Robert Judkins, testifying at the trial of George Alec Robinson who is charged with murdering Elliott, 68, and von Lewinski, 71, said he first heard what seemed to be the moans of a man followed by moans from a woman about 10:40 p.m. last Feb. 9, but that he did not react to them.
The next night, he testified, he became concerned when he saw a number of notes outside Elliott's apartment door, looked through a window and saw a mirror on the floor and a chair knocked over. At that point, Judkins said, he called Elliott's brother, Robert, who lived a block away, because "I had some reason [to suspect] there might be foul play."
"In the back of my mind I remembered the sounds" he had heard the night before, Judkins testified.
Robert Elliott testified he then found the bodies, which had been stabbed, and had Judkins summon police to the apartment at 413 Prince St.
Another prosecution witness, who testified Thursday, said she was talking on the phone with Elizabeth Elliott on the night of the slayings when Elliott said a tenant was knocking at her door wanting to pay the rent.
Doris Elizabeth Bledinger, a friend of Elliott, said Elliott left the phone briefly, then returned and said, "I have a tenant who apparently was not feeling well and he went straight to the bathroom."
Bledinger, who lives in New York and called Elliott at 9:28 p.m. Feb. 9, said that at that point they ended their 10-minute conversation.
Robinson, 25, who is on trial on robbery as well as capital murder charges, was a tenant in a row house owned by Elizabeth Elliott at 228 N. Payne St., Alexandria.
Alexandria prosecutor John E. Kloch said earlier in the trial that in one of the statements Robinson made to police, he said he made two visits to the Elliott apartment the night of Feb. 9 and repeatedly stabbed the couple with a pair of scissors after von Lewinski found him rummaging through a desk.
Northern Virginia Medical Examiner Dr. James C. Beyer told the jury yesterday that Elliott and von Lewinski received lethal wounds in addition to several "defense wounds" on their hands and forearms. Such wounds are received when a person is trying to ward off an attack. Beyer, who spoke while jurors looked at autopsy photographs projected on a courtroom screen, said the stab wounds could have been inflicted by scissors or an instrument with a sharp point.
Before yesterday's testimony began, Judge Albert H. Grenadier ruled that prosecutors could not introduce as evidence a statement Robinson gave to police shortly after his Feb. 23 arrest because police should have issued the so-called Miranda warning, advising him of certain rights before taking the statement. Judge Grenadier said prosecutors can use the statement only to contradict other testimony.
Robinson's attorneys argued that photos showing the ransacked apartment and the bloody bodies were "excessive" and should not be shown to the jurors. Judge Grenadier permitted the jurors to see all but three of the approximately two dozen photos.