PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - The murder-for-hire trial began Monday morning in West Baton Rouge Parish.
Monique Kitts is accused of paying Karl Howard to shoot her husband Corey Kitts in July 2010. Investigators found Corey Kitts had been shot three times in the head while he was asleep in his Addis home.
During opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton told the jury this case is about a $549,000 insurance policy that Monique Kitts would collect once the murder was complete.
Clayton laid out a timeline for jurors, establishing a pattern in which Monique Kitts had made several withdrawals, of several thousands of dollars, in order to pay for her husband's murder. Clayton also said one month before Kitts was killed, there was a fifth attempt made on his life.
Clayton pointed to Monique Kitts and told jurors, "She ordered a hit on her husband. Did she pull the trigger? No. She ordered the hit. Monique Kitts, you are guilty of killing your husband."
Clayton also said during the trial, jurors will see how many telephone calls happened between Monique Kitts and the alleged gunman. And that less than one month after the murder, Monique went to Atlanta, Georgia where the alleged gunman lived at the time, to spend time with him. Clayton says Monique also changed her cellphone number after the murder.
Attorney Tommy Thompson said his client, Karl Howard, grew up in Baton Rouge and made several trips to the area from Atlanta to visit family and because he wanted to find a girl to spend a couple of nights with.
Howard is charged with first-degree murder. Monique Kitts is charged with second-degree murder.
The attorney for Monique Kitts, Allen Myles, said this case is based on lies. Myles told the jury the two people on trial, Monique Kitts and Karl Howard, the alleged trigger man, have never been in trouble with the law. But two other witnesses for the state, one of whom allegedly drove Howard to commit the murder, are criminals. Myles told jurors, "Everything you hear from those two lying witnesses is what the police told them."
However, prosecutor Tony Clayton said the right people are being held responsible for the death of Corey Kitts.
A third suspect, Cory Knox, who allegedly drove Howard to commit the murder is expected to testify in the trial. Knox will be tried at a later date and is also charged with first degree murder.
Judge Robin Free is presiding over the case, which is expected to last through Friday.