By Alan Sorensen
The prosecution in the Jacob Spang murder case called its witness this morning, confessed murderer Reid Danell.
Danell pleaded guilty May 15 to two counts of first degree murder and admitted in open court that he was the person who shot and killed Kevin Caplette and Kristi Walker. Caplette and Walker, both 30, were found shot to death in Walker's east end Havre home shortly before 1 p.m. on Sept. 16.
The prosecution also planned today to showed the jury and gallery video taped statements taken by Great Falls Police interrogators after Danell and Spang were arrested at a Great Falls motel. Assistant Montana Attorney General Joe Thaggard also told 12th Judicial District Court Judge Warner that he might introduce as evidence an audio tape in which Danell described the incidents leading up to, including and following the murders.
The prosecution called eight witnesses Tuesday, including Walker's boyfriend, Gabe Lawrence, who found the bodies, and Donny Ferguson. Ferguson is a 21-year-old college student from Rocky Boy who was in the process of moving in with Walker when the killings occurred. It was her car that Danell, Spang and Spang's sister, Francine, 16, admittedly drove from the murder scene to Rocky Boy.
Testimony of the prosecution witnesses has focused primarily on the time lines involved in the day and night leading up to the shootings and what transpired in the hours and days that followed.
The prosecution is trying to establish that Spang helped Danell intimidate Walker during an all-night party at her home. In their testimony Tuesday, Lawrence and Ferguson refused to admit that Walker appeared any more nervous than usual in the hours and minutes before her death. During the hour or two before returning home to her death, Walker reportedly drove around Havre borrowing money from acquaintances.
Ferguson did admit on the stand Tuesday that she feared for her life when accounts of her deposition appeared in newspapers in early March. She and Lawrence both said Tuesday that they had trouble remembering some of what they had told police and prosecutors during their interrogations and depositions.
The first witness to take the stand today, Hill County Attorney David Rice said, was Amanda Grant. Grant recounted numerous details about what she said Ferguson told her at the time about the circumstances surrounding the murders. Ferguson denied nearly every bit of Grant's story during her time on the stand Tuesday.
The prosecution is arguing that Walker was collecting the money to repay a drug debt after having her life threatened by Danell and Spang.
The defense is arguing that she was just collecting the money as part of her usual routine to help get some other acquaintances on the road for a drug run to Washington state.
The defense also claims that the Spangs only went along with Danell because they feared for their lives.
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.
The trial is expected to last until Monday or Tuesday.