Defense attorneys call character witnesses in alleged murder-for-hire trial

Defense attorneys call character witnesses in alleged murder-for-hire trial - 6 p.m.
Karl Howard (Source: WAFB)
Karl Howard (Source: WAFB)

PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - People were called to the stand Tuesday to testify as character witnesses for the defendants in an alleged murder-for-hire trial. The defense for the man accused of being the gunman, Karl Howard, has rested.

Allen Myles, the defense attorney for Monique Kitts, started the morning off by calling a friend who's known the accused for 20 years. Kitts is charged with second-degree murder. She is accused of hiring a hitman to kill her husband, Corey, in July 2010.

The woman testified that Kitts was distraught after the murder - crying, beet red and screaming her husband's name. The friend testified she knew Kitts to be an honest and truthful person and never heard her say she wanted her husband dead.

On cross examination, prosecutor Tony Clayton asked the woman is she was familiar with a Van Jones. That is the alias Monique Kitts said her husband used in their role play. Clayton introduced evidence of a Van Jones on Facebook. The profile picture was a black square, but the witness was a friend. Clayton asked if she could identify who Van Jones is.

"I don't know," the woman said. "I have 4,000 friends on Facebook."

Prosecutors were not allowed to introduce evidence that Monique Kitts was also a friend of Van Jones. Kitts was later deleted off the Van Jones Facebook page. However, the jury did learn that Van Jones was accepting friends and liking other Facebook pages in August 2010 and in 2011.

"How is that possible if Van Jones is Corey Kitts and Corey Kitts died in July 2010?" Clayton asked.

The witness said she did not know, adding that if she wanted to talk to Corey Kitts, he had his own Facebook page.

The defense also called four other character witnesses. Three testified on behalf of Monique Kitts, saying she was an honest and truthful person. They include: April Myles, who worked at Kitts' daycare, and two clergy members.

One person testified on behalf of Karl Michael Howard, the accused gunman in the case. That person also testified he knew Howard to be an honest and truthful person.

Nine witnesses were called Tuesday.

Judge Robin Free said he was hoping to finish with witnesses testimony today so all the attorneys can begin closing arguments tomorrow and the jury can being their decision making.

The jury also saw a WAFB news clip in which the getaway driver, Cory Knox, was arrested. In the video clip, Knox says the whole situation is a misunderstanding. After showing that, Karl Howard's attorney rested his case.

The defense has rested its case. Closing arguments will begin Wednesday and the jury will then be charged and begin deliberations.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.