PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - The woman accused of hiring a hit man to kill her husband has decided to tell the jury her side of the story Thursday.
Monique Kitts took the stand just after 11:15 a.m. in her alleged murder-for-hire trial. She is charged with second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. Karl Howard is the suspected gunman. He is also on trial for second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. It is unknown if he will testify in his defense. Kitts is accused of hiring Howard to kill her husband, Corey Kitts, for more than $500,000 of an insurance policy. Corey Kitts was found dead inside his home in Addis in July 2010. Investigators said he had been shot three times at point-blank range.
Did you have your husband killed?
"No sir, I did not," she answered.
Did you pay anyone to have him killed?
"No sir, I did not," she replied.
Did you want him killed?
"No sir, I did not," she said.
Did you ever conspire with anyone to have him killed?
"No sir, I did not," she stated.
Monique Kitts also read two letters she wrote to her husband before the murder, crying as she recited them for the jury. In the first letter, Kitts wrote out her wants and needs to fix their marriage. Below is a list of those items:
In the second letter, she described the marriage as, "Now, it's like a job you hate." She said she told him she's a good mother and can make good decisions for them. Kitts was very emotional while reading the letter. While on the stand she also admitted to having an affair with David Johnson. He was the second person to testify for the prosecution and also stated the two had an affair. He told the jury their affair continued after her husband was killed in 2010. However, Monique Kitts testified that the affair started in July 2006 and ended in January 2007.
Monique Kitts was also questioned about the alleged robbery at their home a month before the murder. She said her husband arrived home at 5:30 a.m., woke her up and told her there was a strange car in front of the house. She said when they went to check it out, she didn't see anything. She said she later went to work and her husband called her asking about $4,000. She said she told him it was by the bed. She said he called her several more times during the day asking about the money. She testified when he couldn't find it, he said he was calling police. She said officers arrived at the home around 8 p.m. She said she met them in the driveway.
Officer Thomas Southon testified for the prosecution earlier in the trial that Monique Kitts told him she left $4,000 in an envelope next to her sleeping husband and that she didn't want him going inside the house because she didn't want to alarm her daughter by going in the house.
"I've never investigated a burglary or theft where I have not been allowed into the residence," Southon told the jury.
At the time of the suspected robbery investigation, Southon was a 6-year veteran of the Addis Police Department. He also said based on her level of nervousness, it appeared as though something was suspicious. Her defense attorney questioned Monique Kitts about it.
He never asked to come in the house?
"No sir," she answered.
Did you prevent him from coming in the house?
"I would have no reason to prevent him," she replied.
"I took $4,200 out of the bank, kept $200 and $4,000 was for Corey to pay bills with," she later said.
"Dorey (the couple's daughter) found $4,000 in the washing machine," she also said.
She also was asked to give her account of the day of the murder. Kitts told the jury she arrived home around 12:30 p.m. with her two children. She said she first walked to the mailbox and then to the side door.
"I opened the door and there was glass and pennies all over the floor. I called out to him and he didn't answer, which was strange. I go in my bedroom and he's laying there. Corey never sleeps past 12 or 12:30. I went up to the side of the bed and saw blood coming out of his ear. I just panicked," she testified.
Earlier in the trial, Trooper Theodore Savoy with Louisiana State Police testified he heard Monique Kitts say, "My God, what have I done?"
Monique Kitts said she was hysterical after the murder and that what she actually said was, "Oh Lord, what am I going to do now?" She also described her children as, "devastated, shocked, overwhelmed, probably panicking."
Were you expecting to find your husband dead?
"No sir. The last thing I would want is for my children to walk in on their daddy like that," she replied.
A member of the West Baton Rouge Coroner's Office testified earlier in the trial that two DNA samples from two "contributors" were found on Corey Kitts. He said Monique Kitts' DNA was found on her husband's lips and genital area. He added DNA from an unknown person was found on those same parts of his body. The medical worker said the second person is considered a "minor contributor," as there was only a small sample. Monique Kitts' attorney says Corey Kitts was having an affair and that someone else is responsible for his death. He asked his client questions along those lines.
Did you know your husband was having an affair?
"I questioned him and he denied it," Monique Kitts said.
She said she heard he was having six affairs.
In the days after the murder, Kitts said she was "number" and went to mother's home in White Castle. "I felt like it was an out of body experience. This really wasn't happening to us. I remember just laying in bed crying."
The prosecution used cell phone records last week to show Monique Kitts traveled to Atlanta twice after her husband's murder. Thursday, Kitts testified that she did go to Atlanta twice saying the first time, she went to visit her girlfriend alone. Then, the second time, she was helping her niece move and took her children with her. She said she did meet up with Karl Howard in Atlanta and everyone went to Dave & Busters, but said she did not stay with Howard. Instead, she stayed at her girlfriend's.
The defense did not spend much time asking Kitts about her husband's life insurance money or policy. Kitts is accused of hiring Howard to kill her husband for more than $800,000 of his life insurance policy. Monique Kitts testified she did not have any conversations about her husband's life insurance, even though the prosecution's earlier witness Michelle Hickner, a HR manager at Shintech, testified that Kitts was the primary beneficiary on Corey's life insurance policy and that Monique called "a lot" wanting to know specifically about when she would get her life insurance money.
Kitts' attorney Allen Myles asked his client what life was like after her husband's murder.
On cross examination, lead prosecutor Tony Clayton asked Kitts why she never mentioned she missed her husband or her children lost their father. She responded with, "that's obvious."
Clayton spent one hour poking several holes in Kitts' testimony showing even though Monique Kitts said her affair with David Johnson ended in Jan. 2007, they still spoke and texted several times.
Clayton also pointed to a Facebook page under the name of "Van Jones" that Kitts said was her husband's fake page. However, Clayton pointed to a recently added friend saying if he died in 2010, how could he recently have added a friend indicating someone other than Corey Kitts was using that page.
Johnson was one of the first witnesses the prosecution presented and told jurors Monique Kitts wanted him to find someone to kill her husband. To that, Kitts said, "I did not tell David Johnson to find someone to kill my husband."
Corey Knox is the accused getaway driver in this case who allegedly drove Howard to the Kitts' home on the morning of the murder. He was a witness from the prosecution and told jurors he took his mother's Dodge Durange and backed in the Kitts' driveway the morning of the driveway. When Clayton asked Monique if everything Corey Knox testified was wrong, she replied, "Corey Knox is lying."
The defense will continue its case on Monday because there is no trial on Friday.