A man facing charges in the September murder of two teenagers and a baby boy complicated proceedings by marrying the chief eyewitness in the case against him in December, according to a report from KCTV-TV Wednesday.
The trouble began when a teenage boy entered a south Kansas City home on the evening of Sept. 8 only to discover his 17-year-old sister, Bianca Fletcher, her 18-year-old friend, Shannon Rollins Jr., and Fletcher's 1-year-old son, JoJo, dead inside the house.
Prosecutors believe that the evidence points to Joseph Nelson, Fletcher's ex-boyfriend, saying that he entered the house through an unlocked door, according to KCTV. The key eyewitness in the case and Nelson's girlfriend at the time, Shellana Davis, told the police that Nelson demanded that Fletcher and Rollins sit down as the three engaged in an argument. Authorities say that Nelson, who Davis said was carrying a gun, opened fire on the two teenagers and the baby, killing all three.
"It's been real tough, but I pray about it. I break down at times, but I've been getting better dealing with it," Yale Washington, Rollins’ mother, told KCTV.
But the case became complicated when Nelson and Davis applied for a marriage license Oct. 21. Prosecutors responded by filing a motion in November to depose Davis in order to preserve her testimony for use in the trial because current laws state that spouses have the right to refuse to testify against one another in court.
"In her statement to police ... Davis detailed her eyewitness account of the events that form the basis for the felony charges filed in this matter," the motion read, according to KCTV. "As such ... Davis is a necessary and essential witness for the State ... Davis' testimony, in some respects, could become unavailable to the State after she is married to the Defendant."
Nelson and Davis married in December, the week before the hearing that was set to determine whether or not Davis could be compelled to give a videotaped testimony, KCTV reported.
"[Nelson] probably read some article on spousal privilege saying this will save my ‘you know what,’ but it's not going to," lawyer Matthew O'Connor from the O'Connor Law Firm told KCTV. "I think that is a red herring, that’s a distraction, because even if they get married, she can still be compelled to testify in many ways. There's a statute that involves a murder, so the spousal privilege is not an be all, end all."
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