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Detective Chad Moose describes chokehold used on Sandra Steen

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Rowan County Sheriff’s Detective Chad Moose brought his hands up to his neck in the witness stand.

The 24-year law enforcement veteran described to Rowan Superior Court jurors Tuesday how to perform a rear naked choke. Moose said the maneuver is used in jiu jitsu — not to cut off a person’s oxygen supply, as some believe. Rather, the move cuts blood flow to the brain to “get them to black out,” he said.

The choke is the exact move investigators say Jeff Steen used on his mother, Sandra Steen, on Nov. 5, 2013 — the same night his grandfather, J.D. Furr, was killed. This is the second week of Jeff Steen’s trial on charges of murdering his grandfather and attempting to murder his mother.

Jeff Steen told investigators he found his 87-year-old grandfather dead in his yard the morning of Nov. 6, 2013. Investigators said Furr was severely beaten with a potato hoe. Sandra Steen was also found in the yard, beaten but alive. Jeff Steen was arrested on Nov. 21, 2013.

Moose said he has taken jiu jitsu and martial arts classes as part of training with the sheriff’s office. The detective said he’s used the maneuver on others and has been placed in the choke hold himself.

He said the object of the rear naked choke is to squeeze the side of the person’s neck to stop the flow of blood.

Moose said when he searched Steen’s personal locker at work, he found 18 magazines, many of them mixed-martial-arts-related. An article in one of the magazines detailed how to perform the rear naked choke.

The choke can be performed from a standing position, lying on the ground or seated position, Moose said.

In his testimony, Moose also described the crime scene, particularly as it pertained to Furr. Moose described the pattern of blood splattered on a wall not far from where Furr was found. He said detectives took pictures and marked areas of blood.

J.D. Furr’s body was covered in a mix of dirt, dust and blood, and was lying on his left side, the detective said. He had a puncture wound to the back of the head consistent with the end of the potato hoe, Moose said.

The elderly man had an injury to his forehead, also made by the potato hoe, Moose said.

Furr’s wallet was empty, other investigators have already said. Sandra Steen’s purse was still sitting on her bed with her wallet inside it, the detective said.

Assistant District Attorney Tim Gould asked Moose to look through Jeff Steen’s cellphone records on the night of Nov. 5, 2013, as well as the morning of Nov. 6, 2013, and see if there was a call from Jeff Steen to his mother, Sandra Steen. There were none. There were calls made to Jeff Steen from Furr and vice versa. There was a call from Steen’s then-girlfriend, Adrienne Dixon, now Adrienne Eller, to Jeff Steen.

Jeff Steen also called 911 the next morning after repeatedly becoming disconnected and losing a signal.

Steen said in several statements to investigators that he left three times while installing a ceiling fan at Furr’s house because he needed supplies from his home in Albemarle. He called his mother after heading home after he finished with the fan, but his phone records did not reflect that account.

Jeff Steen’s former Norandal co-workers testified as to the safety measures of the job that included wearing long-sleeved shirts and coats as well as steel-toed boots, long pants and hard hats.
One former co-worker, Eric Moser, told the court any injuries had to be reported to a supervisor.

Moser said Steen did not tell anyone on Nov. 5, 2013, or any subsequent night that he had any injuries.

Former co-worker John Masten, who is now retired, said he worked in the same casting department alongside Jeff Steen. Another former co-worker, Terry Medlin, said a lot of Norandal employees, including Jeff Steen, were concerned about possible company layoffs.

Supervisors Todd Summers and Joe Evans corroborated each others’ statements that Jeff Steen never told any of them he had scratches to his arm, which is contrary to what he told investigators. Steen said in statements to investigators that his mother scratched him and later said he was “injured at work.”

Each Norandal employee said it was company policy to report any injuries to a supervisor and if it was not done the employee could face disciplinary action, up to termination. The supervisors who testified said all employees knew to wear long sleeves and protective gear in and around the furnace that melted the aluminum.

Steen’s attorney, Darrin Jordan, asked the supervisors if a scratch constituted an injury that needed to be reported, to which all of them said it did not. Minor injuries that may have required a Band-Aid were not typically reported, Evans said.

Evans also told the court Jeff Steen talked about one day inheriting his grandfather’s farm. Evans said Steen spoke often of his grandfather and  seemed to Steen love his grandfather.

Detective Chad Moose is expected to be the final witness called to testify, prosecutors said Tuesday afternoon.

Jordan said he plans to call a few witnesses to testify including Jeff Steen. The trial resumes this morning at 9:30.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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