PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - The two people convicted in a murder-for-hire returned to court Wednesday morning to learn their punishment, but instead motions were filed and they will have to wait longer to find out their fates.
Defense attorneys for Monique Kitts and Karl Howard requested two motions. One motion asked for a new trial. The other one asked for a continuance and acquittal. Judge Robin Free denied all motions, but the law requires a 24-hour wait after a motion is denied before a sentence can be issued. The sentencing date has been scheduled for March 5.
Corey Kitts was shot three times at point-blank range inside his Addis home back in July 2010. After a three-week trial last November, Monique Kitts and Karl Howard were found guilty of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder.
On Wednesday, the victims families gave statements and Monique Kitts also spoke to Corey's family.
Clonise Stewart, one of Corey Kitts' sisters, made victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing.
"I basically stated that this has impacted our entire family," Stewart answered when asked what she said in the courtroom. "It has split our families. It split our communities, our friends. And basically, my prayer was to ask them, 'Would you just basically tell the truth?'"
Kitts was able to speak to everyone in the courtroom. She said, "I am innocent. Corey was my life. A part of me died on July 9, 2010." She continued with "I am not the mean, greedy monster the DA has made me out to be. I never wanted Corey dead, and for what? Money? I'm not materialistic.
"I didn't plan or pay anyone to kill my husband. The person responsible is still out there. I could never hurt anyone, especially Corey.
"I'm not going to give up because justice has not been served," she stated.
WAFB Reporter Kiran Chawla: Monique Kitts said something to you guys, but she never actually apologized to the family. How did that make you feel?
"It hurt as well, because she basically continuously said she didn't do this. But she's never said, 'I'm sorry for what has happened. I'm sorry that this happened to Corey. I'm sorry that this is happening to our family.' Just some remorse from her, I truly believe would have helped the situation somewhat, to have some remorse from Monique and that we have not seen up until today," Stewart explained.
What is your response to the two specific motions being filed?
"That's typical; they file them all the time," said lead prosecutor Tony Clayton. "The key is to try to delay it as much as they can. I think the judge will see through it and I think he will deny the motion, both motions."
Second-degree murder does carry a mandatory sentence, right?
"Absolutely, life in prison. Just as Mrs. Stewart just said. Second-degree murder - Monique now is a murderer. She is a convicted murderer and they are selfish. And you saw what happened. The Kitts family told her how much they loved her, how much they still cared about her, although she had done this to their loved one and she took the stand and said how much she loved herself and how much she loved her kids and how one day she hopes to be free behind this. So, it just shows you what people do when they're convicted of these crimes. So, I'm happy the family was strong. They saw right through it," Clayton replied.
Prosecutors said Monique Kitts hired Howard as the triggerman in order to cash in on more than $500,000 in insurance money.