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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 March 2005, 22:54 GMT
Dog's false lead in murder case
Shih Tzu
The mystery witness turned out to be a Shih Tzu
US prosecutors trying to crack a murder case realised they were barking up the wrong tree when one of their witnesses turned out to be a small dog.

They had been interested in talking to Murphy Smith since the main suspect sent him a letter from his cell.

But when he turned up at court, lawyers knew they had grabbed the wrong lead for Murphy was a pet, not a relative.

Albert K Smith, the dog's owner, is awaiting trial in Arkansas, over the shooting of his ex-wife's boyfriend.

The defendant had written to Murphy from his cell - alerting prosecutors' suspicions.

They sent out a subpoena, and the five-year-old Shih Tzu duly appeared at the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, led by the defendant's brother.

An official refused to grant them access to the courthouse - because no dogs are allowed.

Prosecutor Robin Green told the Associated Press news agency she apologised to the brother for any inconvenience, adding: "The dog was friendly enough and probably would have been a very co-operative witness."


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