By Alan Sorensen
A 21-year-old Rocky Boy woman who owned the car that three murder suspects allegedly used to flee the scene of a double homicide in Havre last September gave a video-taped deposition Wednesday.
A hearing was held at 9 a.m. in 12th Judicial District Court to determine whether the deposition scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in the courtroom should be open to the public. After hearing arguments from prosecutors that it should be closed and at least one defense attorney that it should be open, District Court Judge John Warner opened it to the public and media.
Donny Lynn Ferguson told lawyers under oath Wednesday that she was at Kristi Walker's home in the 1200 block of Sixth Street until about 5 a.m. Sept. 16, 1999. The bodies of Walker and Kevin Caplette were discovered about seven hours later at Walker's home. Both had been shot to death.
Suspected in the shootings are Reid Danell and Jacob Spang, both 18 at the time, and Francine Spang, who recently turned 16. All three remain in custody. Danell, the suspected shooter, is scheduled to go on trial April 10.
Taking Ferguson's testimony were Hill County Attorney David Rice and defense attorneys Thomas Sheehy, Robert Peterson, Carl White and Stephen Gannon.
In Court Reporter Doug Christensen's verbatim account of the deposition, Ferguson gave the chronology of events in which she was directly involved during Sept. 15 and 16.
Ferguson said she was staying with a friend at Rocky Boy and rode into Havre with Wesley Merrill and Danell Sept. 15. They arrived in Havre shortly after 10 p.m., she said, and went to Walker's home. Ferguson said she had been friends with Walker for about 1 years and that Walker had borrowed Ferguson's car about three days earlier.
Walker wasn't home when they arrived at her house, so the three of them went to McDonald's in Merrill's pickup and returned to Walker's home later. Walker still wasn't home, so the three of them began moving some of Ferguson's belongings including clothing into Walker's home.
Ferguson said she had been attending MSU-Billings and had made arrangements with Walker to maybe move in so she could attend MSU-Northern. Walker subsequently returned to the house with Ferguson's car, a red 1992 Oldsmobile Achieva. Jacob Spang showed up at the house later.
Ferguson said she left Walker's home three, four or five times during the night. Some of the trips were to get alcohol and one was to pick up Francine Spang. For that trip, Ferguson drove her own car with Jacob Spang and Danell as her passengers.
Ferguson testified that she Caplette spent most of the night working on Walker's mother's car in the garage. She said that a rifle in the garage had a clip and that the clip had ammunition in it.
During the course of the night, Ferguson saw Danell handling the gun in the garage. She said she thought Danell may have handed it to Jacob Spang, but that she didn't see anyone else handle it.
Ferguson said everyone at the house except Walker and Caplette was drinking, Jack Daniels at first and tequila later. She said that she thought Walker and Caplette were smoking marijuana and taking crank, instead of drinking.
Ferguson said she never heard anyone threat to shoot anyone and never heard Walker mention anything about money problems. She and Merrill left the house at about 5 a.m. and arrived at Merrill's home Rocky Boy at about 5:30 a.m., she said.
Later the morning of Sept. 16, Jacob Spang and Danell knocked on the window at Merrill's house. Ferguson said the sun was already up.
Spang and Danell then entered the house and walked into the bedroom, she said.
"(They) come in the bedroom and said they'd killed, I'm not sure if it was we or they or I or whatever, but just that Kevin and Kristi were shot," Ferguson was quoted as saying. She also said that Danell told her that Caplette was shot and then that Walker was shot because "she witnessed it."
She said that Danell appeared to be excited and was talking fast, but that Spang was quiet and kept his head down. All Spang said, she said, was that he had blood on his pants.
Danell borrowed $20 from Ferguson and $40 from Merrill but didn't tell the couple what he intended to do with the money.
Ferguson said Spang and Danell left and she never saw Francine Spang that morning. She said the police reported finding her car later, but that she hasn't seen it since.