Special to The Leader

BATH | After a half-day in court on Wednesday, Thursday was even shorter, as the murder trial of Thomas Clayton continued toward the end of its fifth week.

The day began with a delay of more than half an hour from the scheduled 9:30 a.m. start time, followed by 90 minutes of testimony, followed by an adjournment for the day. Judge Peter Bradstreet said the adjournment was due to “a matter of law that needs to be addressed.”

It wasn’t made clear whether the issue was related to the Clayton trial or another case.

Clayton is charged with first- and second-degree murder in the September 2015 killing of his wife, Kelley Stage Clayton. Prosecutors say Thomas Clayton hired a former employee, Michael Beard, to kill his wife. Beard was convicted of first-degree murder-for-hire and two counts of second-degree murder in November 2016.

What did take place Thursday was a continuation of testimony from cell phone tracking expert Sy Ray, brought in by the prosecution to show the jury visualizations of cell phone and GPS data gathered in the case.

Chemung County District Attorney Weeden Wetmore began by going through a series of nine animations, basically videos, created from the extensive maps and data points shown to the jury Wednesday afternoon.

The intent seemed to be to give jurors a simpler way of reviewing what the prosecution considers key points of the presentation.

Wetmore also asked Ray to review raw data from Thomas Clayton’s cell phone service provider during two times when Clayton reportedly borrowed other people’s phones to make calls to Beard.

At 12:09 p.m. Sept. 28, the day leading up to the killing, Clayton reportedly stopped at M&M Auto in South Corning and asked to use its phone to make a call, saying his had no signal.

But according to Ray, there was continuous communication between Clayton’s phone and a cell tower during that time period, and the connection quality was “more than acceptable.”

Ray said he also took his radio frequency scanning equipment to the area near M&M Auto and found a good connection available in the area.

He noted Wednesday that his company keeps a database of every cell phone tower in the United States, updated on a daily basis, and that no significant changes have been made in the relevant area in the time since the September 2015 killing.

Ray also discussed the time of another call prosecutors consider key to their case -- a 10:53 p.m. call to Beard using a phone borrowed from Linda Miller, the wife of the host of the poker game he was attending the night of the killing.

Again, Ray said there were continuous communications between Clayton’s phone and the cellular network during the time Clayton reportedly said he had to borrow a phone.

Depending on various testimony, Clayton either said his battery was dead or that his phone had been left in his vehicle. There was also testimony from some at the poker game saying Clayton did have his phone at the table.

Clayton reportedly deleted the record of the call to Beard from Miller’s phone.

Ray will return to the stand for further testimony when the trial continues at 9:30 a.m. today in Steuben County Court.