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Mistress testifies in murder trial

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Murder suspect Laurie Alexander became privy to her husband's prolonged infidelities when she ripped a cell phone from his hands, locked herself in a bathroom and trolled the phone for telltale correspondences, a family friend testified she'd told him.

Her husband, Ronald "Kent" Alexander, 44, was found fatally stabbed the next day.

Brian Rogers, who worked with Kent at a physician recruitment company, told jurors Wednesday he'd reached out to Laurie in the hours after her husband's death, offering her the services of his pastor.

Rogers said she claimed to have taken two pills of Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication, and gone to bed after viewing the text messages and arguing with her husband. She awoke to find a disheveled kitchen and, on the floor, her husband with a "small stab wound ... that couldn't be what killed him," Rogers said he was told.

The following week, Laurie was barred from her husband's funeral, Rogers said.

Prosecutors believe the text messages sent Laurie into a rage that ended in murder. Her defense attorney, Jeff Sliz, claims she was heavily medicated and doesn't know how her husband died, only that she had no part in it.

She faces counts of murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and weapons possession.

Rogers said the victim was hired three years prior to his death, and was a "top salesman" until "his performance sort of waned the last year he was with the company."

Clients complained that Kent reeked of alcohol, Rogers said. He was fired about two weeks prior to his death for showing up to work with a blood alcohol level of .172 -- more than twice the legal limit for driving in Georgia -- according to a blood test the company mandated, Rogers testified.

That description bore contrast to the man who was something of a local hero in his native Cherryville, N.C., his mistress, Valerie Coles, testified. Kent was a star athlete who had played minor league baseball.

Sliz submitted into evidence an e-mail chain between Coles and Kent from September 2007, in which they referred to each other as "ironman" and "ironwoman." The affair between the former co-workers had lasted 10 years, with the latter years turning sexual, Sliz said.

"He talked about how happy he was with me," said Coles, who also was hiding the fling from her spouse.

After discovering the text messages, Laurie called Coles at home and threatened to "expose" her but didn't threaten physical harm, Coles testified.

"I didn't assume she was going to stab him," Coles said. "I didn't assume it was going to get that ugly."