ANDERSON — Jerry Carl Guffey responded with disbelief when his father told him he had committed murder.

“He said he killed a guy in Elwood and took his car,” he said. “At first I thought he was just running off his mouth.”

Guffey’s son took the stand during the second day of his father’s murder trial on Thursday. Guffey, 54, of Elwood, stands charged with murder in the death of 78-year-old John Collier. On July 11, 2008, Collier was found dead with his throat slashed inside his Elwood home.

In June, Guffey’s brother, Jeffrey L. Guffey, 39, pleaded guilty to arson and assisting a criminal for helping his brother conceal the killing by setting fire to Collier’s car. He received a three-year suspended sentence in exchange for testimony in his brother’s trial.

Guffey’s son, Jerry Carl Guffey, known as “J.J.,” testified about the events of July 9 and 10. It was at J.J.’s New Castle home that Guffey and his brother devised the plan to burn Collier’s 1997 Crown Victoria.

J.J. said he and Jeffrey L. Guffey were drinking beer in his garage between 11 a.m. and midnight when Guffey arrived in the Crown Victoria.

Jeffrey L. Guffey agreed to take the car and burn it, but struck multiple parked cars while leaving the house. J.J. roused a sleeping neighbor to tell her that her car had been struck, then let slip that the car responsible was part of a homicide investigation.

Guffey’s defense attorney, Tom Godfrey, pressed J.J. on inconsistencies in his testimony, but he already admitted he lied to police to protect his father. Madison County Prosecutor Tom Broderick entered into evidence a letter Guffey wrote to his son, admitting to the murder.

Jeffrey L. Guffey previously told police his blood-soaked brother showed up at his house and asked him to help dispose of the vehicle. During the first day of the trial, on Wednesday, three of Guffey’s neighbors testified that they saw Guffey arrive home driving the Crown Victoria shortly after 10 p.m. on July 9.

Contact Justin Schneider: (765) 640-4809, justin.schneider@heraldbulletin.com

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