Fort Coffee Man Bound Over On Two Murder Charges
POTEAU, Dec 12, 2012 (Times Record - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Following the second day of a preliminary hearing that included testimony about cellphone call tracking, LeFlore County Special Judge Jeff Singer bound Christopher Kenyon Simpson over for trial on two counts of first-degree murder Tuesday.
Singer found the prosecution had submitted sufficient evidence to try Simpson, 26, of Fort Coffee in the April 8 shooting death of Ka'Loni Marie Flynn, 20, of Fort Smith and the subsequent death of her 12-week-old fetus. He scheduled Simpson for formal arraignment at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 2 before District Judge Jon Sullivan.
Defense attorney Warren Gotcher objected that evidence regarding the cellphone tower traces of calls between Simpson and Flynn should be tossed because no warrant was obtained for the search, violating Simpson's Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.
Assistant District Attorney Tony Evans argued that case agent Shawn Ward's report indicates investigators obtained numerous Title 18 (a federal law regarding criminal court procedures) requests for searches on Flynn's cellphone. As the searches were done on her cellphone number, none of Simpson's Fourth Amendment rights were violated, and he has no standing to object to the search of someone else's property.
Singer admitted the evidence, which demonstrates, Evans said, that six calls made from Simpson's phone to Flynn's from 10:37 to 11:01 p.m. the night of her death hit on four cell towers along the route from where Simpson was staying with a cousin in Fort Smith to near rural McGinnis Road outside Spiro, where Flynn's body was found in her car. In admitting the cellphone tracking evidence, Singer noted Gotcher's objection.
Simpson has been held in the LeFlore County Detention Center without bond since his June 21 arrest.
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent Ward testified that Flynn's body was found in the driver's seat of her still-running red Dodge Charger on McGinnis Road in the early morning hours of April 9. He said by his observation, she died of a gunshot wound to the head. Ward said he interviewed two clerks at a nearby convenience store who reported hearing gunshots from that direction at about 11 p.m. April 8.
Ward said although Flynn's cellphone charger was found on the passenger seat next to her, her cellphone could not be located in the car, on a nearby bridge or the river. Family members indicated she would normally have had her telephone with her, Ward said.
Ward said he obtained Flynn's cellphone number and developed Simpson as a suspect through it. Ward testified that the six calls made to Flynn's phone that night from a number with a 254 area code turned out to be the phone number assigned to a Verizon prepaid cellphone Simpson bought on April 4 from the Walmart Supercenter on Zero Street in Fort Smith, paying for it with cash.
Mark Denton of Verizon Wireless' Law Enforcement Resource Team in New Jersey testified that area codes can be requested based on Zip Codes. Denton said no identification is required for the purchase of prepaid phones.
Ward said Simpson formerly lived in Killeen, Texas, the location of that area code. Store video clearly shows Simpson holding the new telephone in his hand and leaving the parking lot in a white car such as the one Simpson drives, a Chevy Malibu. Ward testified that store video also showed Simpson at the ammunition counter.
Ward testified that in repeated interviews, the first one requested by Simpson who wanted his name cleared after hearing others suspected him of the killing, Simpson denied killing Flynn, admitted knowing her, said they'd "fooled around" only once, denied being the father of her fetus, denied leaving Arkansas since moving from Texas, and told him he didn't care if the case ever got solved. Ward said DNA tests showed Simpson to be the father of the fetus.
"The whole thing was senseless," Flynn's father, Herbert W. Flynn Jr., said during a recess between testimony Tuesday.
Herbert Flynn said he sat in the car with his sobbing daughter as she talked on the telephone with Simpson, telling him he was the father of her fetus, and Simpson told her to get an abortion. Herbert Flynn said his daughter told Simpson if he'd sign over his parental rights, he wouldn't have anything to worry about, that she didn't care about child support, she just wanted him to know he would be her baby's father.
The prosecution alleges Simpson, who was already court-ordered to make child support payments for another child, killed Flynn because he was angry about her pregnancy.
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