Tue, Mar 12, 2013
A key witness in the case against two men accused of murdering a university student in October 2010 testified Monday that she lied to police about the two suspects’ involvement according to The Advertiser.
She said she feared police would arrest her for hampering the investigation. Now what would make someone feel this way?
Defense attorneys for the two men accused of beating to death Kenneth Donnelly Jr., 20, and seriously injuring his roommate, Rufus Fells, at their off-campus McKinley Street home also expected a second key witness to testify that police coerced him into making false statements.
But that witness did not appear in court, prompting a warrant to be issued for his arrest and the Monday hearing to be delayed.
Ian Trahan and Wayland Guillory pleaded not guilty in April 2011 to one count of each second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.
Their respective attorneys, Thomas Guilbeau and Amos Valex, now want to exclude from the trial the cornerstone of the prosecution’s case — statements from three of four witnesses interviewed for the Lafayette Police Department’s incident report and statements Trahan and Guillory made during interrogations.
The statements include “an alleged confession” from Trahan that Guilbeau said “was not voluntary and done under coercion”
In the Lafayette Police Department’s incident report, the investigating officer cites statements from four witnesses as probable cause to arrest Trahan and Guillory.
One of the witnesses recanted to police, as shown in the incident report. A second witness, Kristie Malone, 21, testified Monday that she lied to police to protect herself.
Malone initially told police that Trahan and Guillory “had gone around the corner to get some ‘X’ pills” before the murder took place and later returned to where they had been hanging out together “shooken up and nervous and panicky about everything.”
She said they were talking about the fact that “somebody got killed on McKinley.”
On Monday, she said police pressured her into making those statements and said her claims were false.
“They — the detectives — were saying I knew something and if I didn’t tell them, I would be arrested for accessory [after the fact],” Malone testified. “I was scared.”
The third witness, Cody Moore, was initially charged with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder.
Guilbeau said he still expects Moore to testify that he too lied to police to avoid being arrested.
But Moore did not appear in court Monday despite being summoned.
Judge Marilyn Castle ultimately did not rule on the defense attorneys’ motions to suppress the statements in order to give police time to find Moore and make him testify.
During the hearing Monday, police went to Moore’s address, but he was not there.
Castle said she will reschedule the hearing once police find Moore.
Assistant District Attorney Pat Magee said Monday that “there are pending charges” against Moore.
But Guilbeau said the state has not taken any legal action against Moore in the 2 1/2 years since the murder.