RICHMOND — Mariah Smith told a jury Tuesday how murder defendant Christina Marcum attempted to intimidate her after Smith was interviewed by a state police detective investigating the death of Angela Singleton.
Smith, who had known Marcum since middle school, described how Marcum had stalked her; went to Smith's place of work and got into a verbal altercation with her; and blocked Smith from pulling into her home driveway with a vehicle.
"I was terrified," Smith said. "...I had known of Christina being volatile with other people but never with me."
Marcum, 30, of Georgetown is on trial for the killing of Angela Frazier Singleton, 25, of Richmond. Singleton's dismembered body was found in January 2011 in six garbage bags tossed into a field in rural Madison County, near the Kentucky River.
Angela Singleton's husband, Jason Singleton, 37, is serving a 30-year sentence after pleading guilty last year to complicity to murder. In addition to murder, Marcum is charged with tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution. If convicted, she could face life in prison.
Before the alleged intimidation episode, Smith said Marcum had told her that she was present as Jason Singleton choked Angela Singleton to death.
"She said, 'He was choking her and I tried to stop him. I was beating on his back and tried to stop him.'"
Marcum had cautioned Smith that a state police detective might wish to speak to her. Furthermore, Marcum advised Smith, "you tell him you don't want to talk to him without an attorney."
"And I asked her why would I need an attorney to talk to someone? ...She said they were trying to implicate her or something," Smith said.
Indeed, on April 7, 2011, Kentucky State Police Detective Brian Reeder interviewed Smith. When Smith later told Marcum in a phone conversation about the detective's interview, Smith said Marcum's "demeanor instantly switched."
"She said, 'What did you tell him? What did you tell him?'" Smith testified. "I said, 'I didn't tell him anything he didn't already know. I didn't know anything to tell.' And I remember her saying something about 'You just signed my prison sentence.' She was screaming at me."
Later that day, Smith said Marcum came to the Fayette Mall store where Smith worked and confronted her. "The level of her voice was getting louder and louder," Smith said, and drew the attention of customers. When Smith attempted to approach Marcum and calm her down, Marcum said: "Don't you come at me like you're going to do something because you know I'll beat your ass."
Later that night, as Smith made a night deposit at a bank branch in front of the mall, Marcum called Smith's cellphone. Marcum said she wanted to talk to Smith. Smith tried to put her off, and wanted to go home. When Marcum asked for Smith's location, Smith said, "I just dropped my deposit off."
Marcum expressed surprise over the phone, saying "I don't see your car anywhere."
"My heart just stopped," Smith said upon realizing that Marcum was following her. Moments later, Marcum's car pulled up next to Smith's at a mall exit.
"She's yelling at me," demanding that Smith tell everything about the police interview, Smith recounted. After two other similar confrontations, Smith tried to drive home but saw a car swerve into her driveway and block it. Smith eventually was able to park her car and run into the house.
"She was yelling something at me but I couldn't hear what she said," Smith said.
In July 2011, a Fayette County grand jury indicted Marcum on a charge of intimidating a witness.
In other testimony, Detective Reeder read an affidavit that Jason Singleton used as an allocution when he pleaded guilty to complicity last year.
In that statement, Jason Singleton accuses Marcum of killing Angela Singleton. Jason Singleton acknowledged that he attempted to cover up the crime by dismembering the body and destroying or concealing evidence used in the dismemberment.
The trial is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety