RICHMOND — The defense attempted on Friday to use the words of a state police detective to poke holes in the prosecution's case of accused killer Christina Tompkins Marcum.
Marcum, 30, of Georgetown is on trial for the 2011 murder of Angela Frazier Singleton, 25, of Richmond. Singleton's dismembered body was found January 2011 in six garbage bags tossed into a field in rural Madison County.
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.
The defense's attack came early in the cross-examination of Kentucky State Police Detective Brian Reeder, the lead investigator in the Singleton case.
What set off the defense's vigorous questioning was a recorded Feb. 8, 2011, telephone conversation between Reeder and Marcum. The recording was played Friday for the jury. The context of the conversation is that Marcum had an attorney who had advised her not to answer questions, and the commonwealth was not willing to make a deal in exchange for her testimony against Jason Singleton. Reeder, on the other hand, asked no questions but let Marcum speak voluntarily with whatever she wanted to share.
At one point in the conversation, Reeder told Marcum: "I've told you all along that I don't think you're the person that killed her."
Co-defense counsel Steve Romines asked Reeder: "Are you lying to her there?"
Reeder said he was trying to retain rapport with Marcum while also attempting to get as much information as he could from her.
"At this point in time, I didn't have any indication that (Marcum) was the one that killed her (Singleton)," Reeder said.
Romines said: "So this was true."
"Yeah, I didn't have anything at that time," Reeder said.
But Reeder reminded Romines that Marcum had told several different stories. In one version, Marcum acknowledged that she was present when Jason Singleton strangled Angela Singleton.
The prosecution has said from the beginning that Marcum and Jason Singleton acted "in complicity" with each other, and that it doesn't matter who delivered the fatal act against Angela Singleton.
The defense, however, said it makes all the difference because Marcum took no part in the murder.
"It's not uncommon in cases like this for both people that were there at the time to be complicit in the murder," Reeder said. "...They conspired to do this."
"Because you don't have any idea what happened, do you?" Romines said.
Reeder said he knows "there were two people whenever Angela Frazier lost her life, and that both of them have put themselves there."
When Romines tried to press Reeder for an exact time, Reeder responded: "I can't say an exact time of death."
Romines: "You don't have any idea, do you?"
Reeder: "I know the last time anyone spoke to her (Angela Singleton) was 9:21 that morning (Jan. 16, 2011) and nobody ever spoke to her again.'
Romines: "And you don't have any idea where it happened."
Reeder: "Like I said, the last time (Marcum) said she left the (Singleton) residence was 3 o'clock that afternoon, and she would not make any further statement with me at that point, which indicated to me that there was something that she was still not wanting to disclose that happened at 3 o'clock that afternoon."
Romines reminded Reeder that Marcum contends she tried to stop Jason Singleton from strangling Angela Singleton.
Reeder: "According to her."
Romines: "...Do you have anything to contradict that she tried to stop it? One piece of evidence, one witness, anything?"
Reeder: "The only thing that is indicative that she had more to do with it, is that there is so much contact (texts and cellphone conversations between Marcum and Jason Singleton) after the fact and on the day of (the murder). I mean, we're not saying she's necessarily the one that actually strangled Mrs. Singleton; we're saying she was there. She had something to do with it."
Romines: "Being at a crime does not make you part of the crime does it? Witnesses observe crimes all the time, don't they?"
Reeder: "No, when witnesses start requesting attorneys and start withholding information, it definitely changes things."
Testimony in the trial will resume at 1 p.m. Monday in Madison Circuit Court.