By Alan Sorensen
The murder trial of Jacob Spang resumed this morning with video and audio tapes of Spang's sobbing and sleepy interrogation by Havre police last September.
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 Spang interview with Assistant Havre Police Chief Kevin Olson tape was made following Spang's apprehension in a Great Falls motel. Spang intermittently breaks into sobbing and yawning throughout the tape.
On the tape, Spang said that he arrived from Rocky Boy to Walker's home at about 10:30 p.m. Sept. 15 with Wesley "Bear" Merrill, Merrill's girlfriend Donny Ferguson and Danell. They subsequently went cruising
In a portion of the tape, Spang told Olson that he heard Merrill tell Danell that Merrill would give Danell a half ounce of crank if he collected the $1,125 that Walker owed him. Spang said this was much later, but that he wasn't good at times. He did say that "nobody said nothing about dying" at that time. Spang also said that Merrill and Danell were "always together."
Spang said that Merrill took a big rock of crank (methamphetamine) from Walker's kitchen table and told Danell that he would keep that as collateral. Later in the garage, Merrill had Danell go to his or Ferguson's vehicle and get a shotgun. He returned with a pistol-grip shotgun from which the others removed the shells. Spang said Danell played with the gun and made threats.
Later, Danell found the 9mm semi-automatic rifle used in the slayings behind a wall in the garage. It was then, he said, that Merrill took the shotgun back and put it into a vehicle.
Merrill, whose Rocky Boy home the trio fled to after the murders, is reportedly missing and may have fled to Washington state. Merrill and Ferguson were at Walker's home shortly before the shooting. They gave Danell about $60 in cash after he drove Ferguson's car to Rocky Boy and told the couple that Walker and Caplette were dead.
Efforts to find Merrill have failed. Rumor surfaced earlier this week that Merrill had been murdered, but there has been no confirmation.
Miller said this morning that the prosecution has issued a subpoena for Merrill's testimony. She said efforts are continuing to locate Merrill and serve him with the subpoena.
Wednesday's testimony included that of three Havre police officers and Danell.
As he has from the beginning, Danell tried again Wednesday to place all of the blame for the shooting deaths of two Havre residents on himself. Court records show that Danell echoed his original statements to police when he took the stand in Jacob Spang's murder trial Wednesday. He also admitted, as he had before, that he liked Francine Spang.
Spang's murder trial began Monday with jury selection in 12th Judicial District Court. Deputy Hill County Attorney Aileen Miller said this morning that she expects the prosecution to wrap up its case by later today or Friday.
Then Spang's defense attorneys will begin presenting their case.