By Alan Sorensen
The defense began calling its witnesses this morning in the murder trial of Jacob Gary Spang. The trial began Monday in 12th Judicial District Court with jury selection and opening arguments.
Spang, 19, is being tried for his alleged part in the murder of Kristi Walker, 30, and Kevin Caplette, 30, both of Havre. They were found shot to death at Walker's trailer home in the 1200 block of Sixth Street shortly before 1 p.m. on Sept. 16.
Spang is charged with two counts of deliberate homicide by application of the felony murder rule, two counts of intimidation by accountability, one count of tampering with evidence, and car theft.
Spang's 16-year-old sister, Francine Spang, is charged with the same offenses and is scheduled to go to trial in Havre on June 19.
A third suspect in the case, Reid Danell, pleaded guilty to two counts of deliberate homicide on May 15. He admitted that he was the one who fired the shots that killed Caplette and Walker.
The prosecution concluded its case shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday and District Court Judge John Warner excused the jury early. Among its final witnesses were the Great Falls officers who arrested Spang and Danell at the Highwood Motel in Great Falls, a medical examiner, an expert from the state crime lab in Missoula, a pair of Havre police officers involved in the case, three acquaintances of the victims, and Spang's older sister, Sherry Spang.
Shortly after 8:30 a.m. today, Havre lawyer Carl White called the first witness for the defense, the clerk at an all-night store in Havre who cashed a $200 second-party check for Walker shortly before her death. The clerk said Walker was in a hurry but didn't appear worried. He said she told him she was planning on going to Great Falls.
White's second witness was Spang's long-time girlfriend, Jamie The Boy of Havre.
The Boy testified that she went to Great Falls the evening of Sept. 15 with her mother, grandmother, brother and sister and checked into the Highwood Motel. She said that Spang borrowed $35 from Walker and gave it to her for her trip to Great Falls.
The Boy said that at about 5 p.m. on Sept. 16 Danell and the two Spangs arrived in Great Falls and checked into the same motel.
The Boy said that Francine Spang returned to Havre the next day with The Boy's father, her grandmother and sister.
The Boy said Jacob Spang appeared visibly upset and that he told her her couldn't tell her what was bothering him because Danell told him not to. She said she stayed up all night, moving between her mother's room and Danell and Spang's room to comfort Spang, who was nervous and upset.
The Boy said Danell was lying on the bed whenever she went into the room and that the three watched some TV together. She testified that Danell acted surprised and asked how something like that could happen when news of the Havre slayings was aired on the news.
Spang told her about Danell shooting the pair before the news came on, she said. She testified that he was afraid and cried and that she became scared, too, and wanted to get away from Danell.
The Boy said that she used to work once a week or so at Walker's home and that Spang met Walker through her about two months before the murders. She said that Spang introduced her to Danell about a week before the murders.
The Boy reaffirmed that Walker's home was open most of the time to anyone who wanted to walk in. People just hung out there and came and went without knocking.
The Boy also said that Walker intended to go to Great Falls to buy a puppy.
Several other witnesses, including Walker's boyfriend, Gabe Lawrence, and his brother were waiting outside the courtroom for their turn to testify.
The trial is expected to last until late Monday or Tuesday.