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State v. Kitts

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

May 10, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
MONIQUE O. KITTS

          On Appeal from the Eighteenth Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of West Baton Rouge State of Louisiana No. 130500 Division "B" The Honorable J. Robin Free, Judge Presiding

          Richard Ward, Jr. District Attorney Terri R. Lacey Assistant District Attorney Port Allen, LA Attorneys for Appellee State of Louisiana

          Allen Myles Plaquemine, LA Yigal Bander Baton Rouge, LA Attorneys for Defendant Appellant Monique O. Kitts

          BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, HOLDRIDGE, AND PENZATO, JJ.

          HOLDRIDGE, J.

         The defendant, Monique O. Kitts, was charged by amended grand jury indictment on count one with principal to second degree murder, a violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1, and on count two, conspiracy to commit second degree murder, a violation of La. R.S. 14:26 and La. R.S. 14:30.1, and she pled not guilty. After a trial by jury, the defendant was found guilty as charged.[1] The defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. The trial court denied the defendant's combined motion for arrest of judgment, postverdict judgment of acquittal, and/or new trial. The defendant now appeals, assigning error to the sufficiency of the evidence, the lack of disclosure of the relationship between the prosecutor and the judge, the excusal of all teachers and students during the jury voir dire, the trial court's denial of the defendant's Batson challenges, evidentiary rulings, prosecutorial statements, and alleged prosecutorial misconduct.[2] For the following reasons, we affirm the conviction and sentence on count one and remand with instructions.

         The record shows the trial court did not impose a sentence on count two.[3] It is well settled that a defendant can appeal from a final judgment of conviction only where a sentence has been imposed. La. Code Crim. P. art. 912(C)(1); State v. Chapman, 471 So.2d 716 (La. 1985) (per curiam). In the absence of a valid sentence, the defendant's appeal is not properly before this court. See State v. Blackburn, 2009-0178 (La.App. 1st Cir. 6/12/09), 2009 WL 1655484 (unpublished); State v. Soco, 94-1099 (La.App. 1st Cir. 6/23/95), 657 So.2d 603. Accordingly, the defendant's conviction on count two is not properly before this court on appeal and we do not address the assignments of error in regard to count two. After sentencing on count two, the defendant may perfect a new appeal concerning count two.

         STATEMENT OF FACTS

         On June 9, 2010, Officer Thomas Southon, who was employed as a patrol officer with the Addis Police Department (ADP) at the time, was dispatched to the residence of Corey Kitts, the victim, and Monique Kitts, the wife of the victim and the defendant, due to a reported theft or burglary of $4, 000.00 and a suspicious red vehicle previously parked across the street from the complainant's residence in an empty lot. Officer Southon was only a half mile away from the residence when he received the dispatch at approximately 7:40 p.m., and arrived within two minutes, but no one was there. The defendant arrived approximately twenty to twenty-five minutes later. She claimed that she had withdrawn over $4, 000.00 out of the bank for bills and placed $4, 000.00 of it in the nightstand next to her sleeping husband, but that when he woke up to go to work, the money was missing. Officer Southon asked to see the area from which the money was removed and to speak with Mr. Kitts. The defendant did not allow Officer Southon to enter the home to investigate the burglary, stating that she did not want to alarm her daughter. When Officer Southon asked the defendant about a suspicious vehicle reportedly seen across the street from the house earlier that morning, she described the vehicle as a red Mazda. When he asked for Mr. Kitts' phone number, the defendant insisted on calling the victim herself, but did not provide the phone number, and indicated that she would have the victim contact the police.

         One month later, on July 9, 2010, Major Paul Marionneaux of the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriffs Office (WBRPSO) and Detective William Starnes of the ADP were summoned to the Kitts residence due to a reported burglary in progress. Upon entry, the officers noticed that there were no apparent means of a forced entry or exit and saw misplaced furniture, glass, coins, and many other items on the floor. They noted that items of value and a small amount of cash were in open sight, which was inconsistent with a burglary. They announced their presence and as they made their way through the house, they heard someone yelling. They noted the presence of the defendant, and Dorey Kitts and Corey Kitts, Jr. (the children of the defendant and the victim), in the master bedroom. They observed shell casings on the floor and the deceased victim lying in his bed. Based on the location of the shells or casings, they concluded that the shooter was standing when the shots were fired.

         Cell phone records for the time period preceding and following the murder, analyzed by WBRPSO Detective Kevin Cyrus, revealed frequent communications among the defendant, codefendant Howard, Corey Knox, and David Johnson. David Johnson worked for Kleinpeter Farms Dairy as a milk deliverer in 2006. Two daycares in Plaquemine were part of his route, one owned by the defendant and the other owned by the defendant's sister. Johnson, who was being trained at the time, was introduced to the defendant by his supervisor. The defendant began making arrangements with Johnson to pay him at a later date and different location when she did not have the money at the time of the delivery. They ultimately began conversing in a flirtatious manner, exchanged telephone numbers, and developed a sexual relationship.

          In December of 2006, the defendant first began making comments indicating that she was sick of her husband and jokingly suggested that she would be better off if he were dead. Ultimately, she became serious and asked Johnson to find someone to kill the victim. Johnson accepted funds from the defendant on separate occasions over the following months, though, according to Johnson, he had no intention of having someone kill the victim.

         In 2008, the defendant asked Johnson if he thought codefendant Howard would kill the victim. Johnson previously introduced Howard, who was a friend of Johnson's brother, to the defendant when recommending her for tax purposes. Johnson told the defendant that Howard probably would kill the victim, but kept the entire $1, 000.00 that she again gave him, and never spoke to Howard about it. Johnson denied that the defendant ever asked him again to contact Howard, stating that he assumed that the defendant subsequently spoke to Howard directly.

         Knox testified that he and Howard were friends for about thirteen years, and that Howard sometimes referred to him as "Cousin" although they were not actually cousins. Knox confirmed that one day Howard called and asked him if he wanted to make some money. Knox initially said yes, but when Howard told him he would have to kill someone in exchange for the money, Knox told him, "Hell, no." According to Knox, Howard persisted, telling him that it would be easy and that the door would be unlocked, but he still declined. He and Howard drove by the Kitts residence during the nighttime hours on two separate dates before the actual murder took place. A day or two before the actual murder, they pulled up at the residence (during nighttime hours) and Howard walked into the victim's yard. Knox testified that he was unsure as to what took place after Howard entered the yard, stating that Howard was not gone for long.

         On the day of the murder, Howard called Knox from a Jack-in-the-Box on Plank Road and told him that he was having car trouble and needed a ride to get a package of money. Knox confirmed that when he picked up Howard from the Jack-in-the-Box between 8:00 and 9:00 that morning, he was driving his mother's gray Durango. Knox further identified the photograph of the vehicle in evidence. Howard pointed out the Kitts' residence just as Knox passed it. Knox backed up and parked his vehicle in front of the residence, and Howard exited the vehicle and walked along the side of the house. While his vehicle was parked in front of the Kitts residence with the engine running, Knox saw a neighbor come outside to warm up his vehicle. Howard came back to the car about two minutes later, jumped in, told Knox he was ready to go back to the Jack-in-the-Box, and gave Knox approximately two hundred dollars retrieved from a white envelope that he had in his hand when he reentered the truck.[4] According to the autopsy report, the victim suffered gunshot wounds to the neck, face, and head, and died of the multiple perforating gunshot wounds.

         SUFFICIENCY OF THE EVIDENCE

         In assignment of error number one, the defendant argues that a rational trier of fact could not find the evidence presented herein sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant contends that there was no eyewitness to the killing, no murder weapon, no fingerprint or DNA evidence to implicate the alleged triggerman, and no camera image of the alleged getaway vehicle. She also stresses that there was some unidentified DNA on the victim's body. The defendant argues that the testimony of Knox and Johnson was uncorroborated and should have been treated with great caution. She further argues that the testimony of the expert witnesses did not provide any support for the conviction. Further, the defendant argues that the evidence failed to exclude every reasonable hypothesis of innocence. She specifically notes that the State stipulated that several women had an affair with the victim and argues that one of the women may have been the donor of the unidentified DNA found on the victim's body.

         A conviction based on insufficient evidence cannot stand as it violates Due Process. See U.S. Const, amend. XIV; La. Const, art. I, § 2. The constitutional standard for testing the sufficiency of the evidence, enunciated in Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979), requires that a conviction be based on proof sufficient for any rational trier of fact, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, to find the essential elements of the crime charged and defendant's identity as the perpetrator of that crime beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Jones, 596 So.2d 1360, 1369 (La.App. 1st Cir.), writ denied, 598 So.2d 373 (La. 1992). See also La. Code Crim. P. art. 821(B); State v. Ordodi, 2006-0207 (La. 11/29/06), 946 So.2d 654, 660. The Jackson standard of review, incorporated in Article 821(B), is an objective standard for testing the overall evidence, both direct and circumstantial, for reasonable doubt. When analyzing circumstantial evidence, La. R.S. 15:438 provides that the fact finder must be satisfied that the overall evidence excludes every reasonable hypothesis of innocence. See State v. Patorno, 2001-2585 (La.App. 1st Cir. 6/21/02), 822 So.2d 141, 144. When a case involves circumstantial evidence and the jury reasonably rejects the hypothesis of innocence presented by the defendant's own testimony, that hypothesis falls, and the defendant is guilty unless there is another hypothesis that raises a reasonable doubt. State v. Captville, 448 So.2d 676, 680 (La. 1984).

         Louisiana Revised Statute 14:30.1(A)(1) defines second degree murder, in pertinent part, as the killing of a human being when the offender has the specific intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm. Specific criminal intent is that "state of mind which exists when the circumstances indicate that the offender actively desired the prescribed criminal consequences to follow his act or failure to act." La. R.S. 14:10(1). Though intent is a question of fact, it need not be proven as a fact. It may be inferred from the circumstances of the transaction. Thus, specific intent may be proven by direct evidence, such as statements by a defendant, or by inference from circumstantial evidence, such as a defendant's actions or facts depicting the circumstances. Specific intent is an ultimate legal conclusion to be resolved by the fact finder. State v. Buchanon, 95-0625 (La.App. 1st Cir. 5/10/96), 673 So.2d 663, 665, writ denied, 96-1411 (La. 12/6/96), 684 So.2d 923.

         The State bears the burden of proving those elements, along with the burden to prove the identity of the defendant as the perpetrator. State v. Draughn, 2005-1825 (La. 1/17/07), 950 So.2d 583, 593, cert, denied, 552 U.S. 1012, 128 S.Ct. 537, 169 L.Ed.2d 377 (2007). When the key issue is the defendant's identity as the perpetrator, rather than whether the crime was committed, the State is required to negate any reasonable probability of misidentification. A positive identification by only one witness is sufficient to support a conviction. State v. Weary, 2003-3067 (La. 4/24/06), 931 So.2d 297, 311, cert, denied, 549 U.S. 1062, 127 S.Ct. 682, 166 L.Ed.2d 531 (2006), quoting State v. Neal, 2000-0674 (La. 6/29/01), 796 So.2d 649, 658, cert, denied, 535 U.S. 940, 122 S.Ct. 1323, 152 L.Ed.2d 231 (2002).

         All persons concerned in the commission of a crime, whether present or absent, and whether they directly commit the act constituting the offense, aid and abet in its commission, or directly or indirectly counsel or procure another to commit the crime, are principals. La. R.S. 14:24. Mere presence at the scene of a crime does not make one a principal to the crime. Only those persons who knowingly participate in the planning or execution of a crime are principals to that crime. An individual may only be convicted as a principal for those crimes for which he personally has the requisite mental state. See State v. Pierre, 93-0893 (La. 2/3/94), 631 So.2d 427, 428 (per curiam). Accordingly, the mental state of one defendant may not be imputed to another defendant. State v. Bean, 2004-1527 (La.App. 1st Cir. 3/24/05), 899 So.2d 702, 707, writ denied, 2005-1106 (La. 11/3/06), 940 So.2d 652, writ granted on other grounds, 2005-1106 (La. 3/8/06), 925 So.2d 489.

         After his encounter with the defendant before the murder, Officer Southon reported to his lieutenant that based on her level of nervousness and suspicious behavior, he was not certain that a burglary had actually taken place at the residence. Trooper Ted Savoy of the Louisiana State Police arrived at the scene on the morning of the murder and helped secure the scene. While outside of the residence, Trooper Savoy encountered the victim's family members including the defendant. He observed the defendant as she emotionally got down on her knees in the driveway, put her face in the palms of her hands, and stated, "My God, what have I gone and done?" Trooper Savoy reported the defendant's statement to the chief of police on the scene. After reporting the statement to other police officers at the Addis Police Department, Trooper Savoy made an official witness statement on a later date, August 11, 2011, documenting what he heard the defendant state. Trooper Savoy admitted that he was not certain that he quoted the defendant verbatim but was sure that he provided the gist of her statement and expression. Detective Starnes sent DNA buccal swabs taken from the victim's body to the Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory, with results showing one major and one minor contributor, including the victim and an unknown source.

         Johnson responded positively when asked if the victim's death would allow him to have a permanent relationship with the defendant.[5] The defendant told him that she would receive one million dollars in insurance proceeds in the event of the victim's death. When Johnson informed the defendant that he knew someone who would kill the victim, she gave him $2, 000.00 to pay the individual for the murder. However, Johnson indicated that he did not attempt to hire anyone, testifying, "I just wanted the money." The defendant subsequently inquired as to why the murder had not been committed, and Johnson told her in part, "I guess he just jacked us, " maintaining his claim that he did not actually have anyone in mind. When the defendant later confronted him about the issue, he again told her that he knew someone who would murder the victim. Johnson had discussed the defendant's request with his friend Darnell Sylve. The defendant gave him $1, 000.00 to pay Sylve and a printout of the victim's work schedule. Johnson kept one-half of the money, and gave Sylve the other half of the money, the Kitts' address, and the copy of the victim's work schedule. Johnson denied that he and Sylve actually did anything to assist the defendant with the victim's murder, stating as follows when asked what he told Sylve, "I told him what she wanted done and I told him where they lived so that if she wanted to talk to him, he could kind of mess her around." The defendant later paid Johnson an additional $1, 000.00 after he told her that he was certain that his cousin's boyfriend would kill her husband. The promise was again fabricated, as he only wanted to get more money from the defendant.

         In 2010, when Johnson and his wife separated, the defendant leased an apartment for Johnson in her name. Johnson specifically received the funds for the apartment from Howard. On or about June 9, about one month before the victim's murder, Howard called Johnson to arrange to meet him at one of his delivery stops. When they met up after lunchtime, Howard, who was driving a red four-door Pontiac at the time, told Johnson that he attempted to kill the victim, but the victim got away and made it into his residence. Howard further stated that the defendant was going to pay him to commit the killing. Howard asked Johnson to drive for him on the next attempt and Johnson told Howard to leave it alone, noting that he was concerned that the police would assume that he was involved because he was having an affair with the victim. Later that day, the defendant called Johnson and described the same attempt by Howard, noting that the victim was able to enter their residence. She stated that the victim called the police, and further told Johnson that when the police arrived, she gave them a false description of the vehicle involved.

         Later, weeks after the murder had taken place, the defendant and Howard returned to Louisiana from Atlanta, where Howard was residing at the time. The defendant confessed to Johnson that she had the victim murdered, but would not confirm the murderer's identity. Johnson also spoke to Howard upon their return and he confessed to Johnson that he had successfully killed the victim. Prior to the murder, the defendant gave Howard a key to the residence, but she did not know ahead of time exactly what day he would commit the murder.[6] Johnson stated that Howard described the murder in detail, specifically indicating that he entered the house, went to the room where the victim was sleeping, called the victim's name out loud, and shot the victim just as he "kind of woke up, " noting that Howard did not tell him how many times he shot the victim before running out of the house. On his way to Atlanta, Howard dismantled the gun and threw the pieces out of the car window. Sometime after Howard's confession, when Johnson took a trip to Atlanta, Howard further informed him that an unnamed cousin assisted him with the murder as the driver and that they used his cousin's mother's vehicle, a gray Durango. Howard further indicated that the defendant gave him the money that he used to pay the driver, and allowed him to use her debit or credit card, but stated that she was indebted to him for one hundred thousand dollars according to their agreement. When he did not get the money, he began making threats.

         Johnson testified that he did not know why he received a target letter indicating he was part of the investigation for an indictment in this case, along with the defendant and Howard. Johnson questioned the defendant as to why he was being indicted, insisting that he did not have anything to do with the murder. Johnson testified that when he met with the police, he did not tell them about his affair with the defendant, noting that the defendant had previously informed him that she concealed or denied the affair when she interviewed with the police because she did not want them to think that he was involved in the victim's death.

         While alerting the police that the defendant and Howard never made incriminating statements over the phone, Johnson agreed to assist them in obtaining recorded telephone conversations with the defendant and Howard. Johnson further noted that codefendant Howard used a video chat app called "Tango" because such phone calls would not be in his phone records. During their conversation, Howard repeatedly denied involvement and reassured Johnson that he, the defendant, and Knox would not lie to the police to implicate him in the murder. Johnson testified that he did not confront or question Howard about his denial of his involvement because he did not want Howard to realize that he was being recorded. During his recorded call with the defendant, he talked about the police becoming aware of their affair, but she did not make any incriminating statements about the murder.

         Johnson denied fabricating his story in order to avoid prison. Johnson confirmed that he lied to the police when they asked if he and the defendant had a sexual relationship and if the defendant ever told him that she had anything to do with the murder of her husband. He also testified that he was lying to the police when he told them that the defendant was depressed after her husband's murder. He further stated that he and the defendant continued to have sex after the murder.

         Darnell Sylve testified that Johnson told him that he was using the defendant for money and asked him if he would like to make some money as well. Sylve stated that Johnson gave him five hundred dollars "ft]o just corroborate his story that he was looking for somebody for her." Sylve indicated that Johnson also gave him a map of the residence's location and the victim's work schedule, which he discarded. Sylve stated that he did not take the notion of the defendant killing her husband seriously because of the small amount of money involved. He further stated that he did not know the victim, the defendant, Howard, or Knox. Sylve acknowledged that in his first interview with police, he did not say anything about someone wanting to hire him to kill someone.

         On the morning of the murder, July 9, 2010, Sean Douglas, the Kitts' neighbor, came outside to move his daughter's vehicle and saw a silver vehicle with a large chrome grill backed in behind the victim's truck on the side of the street. Douglas positively identified the photograph in evidence of a gray or silver Durango as depicting the vehicle that he saw that day behind the victim's truck. He could not tell whether or not someone was in the vehicle when he saw it.

         Knox admitted that he was involved in the murder, stating that he wanted to tell the truth about what happened and get it off of his chest. When specifically asked if he knew why Howard went into the victim's house, Knox stated that he knew Howard had a gun at the time and further stated, "I ain't going to say I didn't know he was going [to] kill somebody [be]cause like I say I didn't think he had the heart to do it. But we did go there. And I knew he wanted somebody dead there." Knox was unsure of the specific date and time, though he was sure that it was in June or July of 2010 during the morning hours. He also admitted that he only assumed Howard had a gun. Knox stated that he did not know David Johnson or the defendant and denied that Johnson or the defendant ever asked him to kill someone. Knox further stated that he remembered seeing the victim's house on the news and was unsure if the photographs in evidence depicted the house in question.

         Bryan Casebonne, a human resources supervisor at the victim's place of employment, Shintech Louisiana, testified regarding the victim's 40IK, retirement, and pension plan, including his enrollment for accidental death and dismemberment. The defendant was the primary beneficiary of the accidental death and dismemberment policy while the children, Cory Kitts, Jr. and Dorey Kitts were contingent beneficiaries. According to the 40IK plan, the defendant (as the spouse) would receive ninety percent, while the listed non-spouse, Courtney Popeleon, would receive ten percent. The victim's basic life insurance policy and his basic accidental death and dismemberment policy were for $199, 000.00 each, his voluntary accidental death and dismemberment policy was for $300, 000.00, and he had a supplemental life insurance policy for $50, 000.00. A total of $805, 000.00 would be paid off at the victim's death. About two weeks after the victim's death, Michelle Hickner, a human resources manager at Shintech Louisiana, received a phone call from the defendant inquiring as to the procedure of the disbursement of the victim's paycheck, remaining vacation time, 40IK, life insurance and pension plans. The defendant made several frequent calls with similar inquiries during the following months.

         Lorace Watson, who has two children with codefendant Howard's brother, confirmed that codefendant Howard and his mother Diane Howard told her to lie to the police, specifically instructing her to say that codefendant Howard was with her the whole day on July 9, 2010. She initially told the police that Howard could have been with her during the day in question. At trial, Watson acknowledged her phone records and admitted that Howard was not with her all day. She confirmed that he called her at 12:43 p.m., that he dropped his mother off at her house that afternoon[7], and that she first saw him between 3:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon, after he arrived at the birthday party for her daughter Dimari at the Marriot Hotel. Watson noted that Howard, who was normally very playful, sat with his body bent over and his head down.

         Detective Cyrus analyzed the cell phone records in this case. Specifically regarding the records of the defendant and Howard, Detective Cyrus noted the defendant communicated with Howard just over seven hundred times before the murder, from January 27, 2010, to July 9, 2010. Howard's cell phone records indicate that on April 2, 2010, Howard talked to the defendant and travelled to the Addis area, utilizing the tower near the Kitts residence between 8:30 p.m. and approximately 9:30 p.m. that night. Howard's cell phone travelled to the Addis area again on the night of April 3, 2010, and was in the area at 10:06 p.m. until 12:23 a.m., with approximately twenty-five transmissions occurring between him and the defendant during the two-hour time period.

         Detective Cyrus noted that the defendant's phone records and surveillance footage of the transactions show that on June 8, 2010, she went to Campus Federal Bank and withdrew funds at approximately 4:00 p.m., and then travelled to the geographic area of Forest Wood Apartments off of Mead Road, where Howard often stayed at the time. On June 9, 2010, at 2:40 a.m., Howard utilized the tower at 4000 Sherwood Forest Boulevard to call Knox in the Greenwell Springs Road location before travelling to the Greenwell Springs location. Approximately one hour later, Knox's cell phone was located in Addis within the vicinity of the Kitts' residence. According to the phone records, around 1:00 p.m. that day, Howard and Johnson's cell phones were within the same geographic area, coinciding with Johnson's claim that he met with Howard that day (when Johnson purportedly declined to be the driver for the next attempt to kill the victim). Later that evening, at 7:17 p.m., the defendant received a phone call from Shintech Louisiana, followed by a phone call by the defendant to Howard at 7:40 p.m., and a simultaneous phone call to 911 by the victim. The records further show that the defendant and Howard's cell phones were in a common area the next day, June 10, 2010.

         On the morning of the murder, beginning at approximately 6:42 a.m., Watson's cell phone and Howard's cell phone were hitting at different towers throughout the morning, indicating that the phones were not in the same location that morning. Detective Cyrus also specifically noted that between 8:15 a.m. and 8:45 a.m., Howard's cell phone was located in the Brownsfield area, within the range of the tower for the area including the Jack-in-the-Box on Plank Road. The records further indicate that Howard's cell phone subsequently travelled to the tower located within the vicinity of Knox's home address. There were no records for the location of Howard's phone between 8:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., which according to Detective Cyrus indicated that the phone was off the grid due to the absence of a transmission. Detective Cyrus further had records to show that Johnson's cell phone was hitting off of towers located in East Baton Rouge Parish at the time of the murder and that it did not travel to West Baton Rouge where the Kitts' residence was located. During an approximate two week period following the murder, between July 9, 2010 and July 23, 2010, there was no cell phone communication between the defendant and Howard in the records. After July 23, 2010, the records included seven thousand, eight hundred ninety-nine communications between the defendant (including those made with a new phone number) and Howard.

          Jeffery Aucoin, an expert in internal auditing, fraud examination, and financial forensics, reviewed the Campus Federal Bank records for the Kitts family and the daycare business accounts, Howard's certified employment records, and the defendant's credit report. Aucoin testified that several withdrawals by the defendant coincided with Howard's absences from work. For example, Howard was off from work two days following a withdrawal of $8, 200.00 by the defendant on November 5, 2009. On December 4, 2009, the defendant withdrew $7, 200.00, a day that Howard did not go to work. On February 24, 2010, Howard's day off from work, the defendant withdrew $7, 300.00. Similarly, on June 8, 2010, the defendant withdrew $4, 200.00 and Howard was off from June 8 to June 10, 2010. On July 7th and July 8th, 2010, Howard was off from work and the defendant made withdrawals of $6, 000.00 and $1, 100.00. Aucoin further testified that while the total withdrawals during 2009 was $52, 770.00, the total withdrawals for the portion of 2010 preceding the victim's murder was $105, 000.00.

         The defendant testified that she and the victim got married in 1993. The defendant denied having her husband killed or paying anyone to do so. She admitted to having an affair, beginning in July of 2006, with Johnson during her marriage, and to writing the email in evidence in December of 2006, to Johnson. Although she admitted that she and the victim did not have the same relationship that they had from the start, she testified that it was her intention to stay with her husband for the rest of her life. The defendant denied providing the victim's work schedule or a key to her residence to anyone before the murder. The defendant admitted to acquiring an apartment for Johnson and purchasing items for Howard, indicating that she just wanted to help them, and she specifically denied any knowledge of Howard having anything to do with the victim's murder. The defendant testified that the missing $4, 000.00 reported by the victim was later discovered in the washing machine by their daughter, Dorey. The defendant further denied making the statement after the murder to the effect of "what have I gone and done, " stating that she instead repeatedly exclaimed, "oh, Lord, what am I going to do now." The defendant confirmed that after her husband's murder, she took two trips to Atlanta, indicating that she was visiting a girlfriend, but conceding that Howard lived in Atlanta at the time and that she saw him while she was there. The defendant denied that she ever had a sexual relationship with Howard, though she confirmed that he would sometimes flirt with her, adding that he flirted with everyone.

         The defendant testified that before the victim's death she had heard rumors of him having an affair and that after his death she learned that he had affairs with six different women. Jenneasha Williams confirmed that she had an affair with the victim, contending that they had sex once and were still friends at the time of his death. By the time of the victim's death, their ...


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