|Knight bound for trial for murder of Willie Bell Gill|
|Friday, 20 January 2012 17:50|
HUGO — After hearing seven witnesses and additional evidence presented by First Assistant District Attorney Johnny Loard, Judge Gary Brock ruled Thursday that there was sufficient evidence to bind Kelvin Kretell Knight over for trial for the murder of Willie Bell Gill.
Knight was previously charged with first degree murder in connection with Gill’s death. She was found dead in her home, the victim of numerous stab wounds.
During Thursday’s preliminary hearing, the state called the following witnesses:
• Amanda Morris – who testified that on the 13th of June 2011, she had some friends over at her home and the defendant, who she knew in passing, arrived with another person. Around midnight everyone else had gone except the defendant and he asked her for a ride. She gave him a ride to his grandmother’s house. She also testified that the next morning he called her from a number she did not know and asked for a ride, but refused to tell her where he was. She refused to give him a ride.
• William Jennings – who testified that he was a friend of the family of Willie Bell Gill and on the 16th day of June, he was contacted by Ms. Gill’s brother who had not heard from her in several days and asked him to check on her. He testified that he went to her house and no one answered the door. He asked several neighbors about her and none of them had seen her in a couple of days. He stated that he went back to her home and found the back door unlocked. He went into her home which was dark and found her on the floor in her hallway. He checked her wrist for a pulse and found none. He then left the home and called 911.
• Jody King – who testified that he is a deputy with the Choctaw County Sheriff’s Office. He testified that he responded to the call on June 16 at the home of Willie Bell Gill. He was the first officer on the scene. He met with Mr. Jennings and then entered the home. He found Ms. Gill on the floor and noticed she had multiple injuries to her neck and there was a large pool of blood on the floor. He then checked the rest of the house and finding no one else there left and contacted OSBI.
• Brad Knight – who testified he is an agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. He specializes in crime scene investigation. He testified that he examined the crime scene and photographed it. He testified that he noted that two of the bed rooms had been ransacked. He also found a rubber glove and a stocking on the floor and collected those items. He testified that he noted a bloody drag mark on the carpet from the front door around the corner to the body of Willie Bell Gill. He also testified that he found and collected a broken finger nail belonging to Ms. Gill on the chest of Ms. Gill.
• Chris Davis – who testified that he is an agent with the OSBI. He specializes in finger print analysis. He testified as to the discovery of two palm prints on the outside of the bathroom window at the home of Ms. Gill. Davis testified that the prints were lifted and he compared them to known prints of Kelvin Knight and there was a match.
• Sonny Morris Stewart – who testified that he is an agent with OSBI. He testified that pursuant to a search warrant obtained by agent Chris Dill, he collected DNA swabs from the mouth of Kelvin Knight.
• Chris Dill – who testified he is an agent with the OSBI. He is the case agent on this case. He testified that he was familiar with the home that Amanda Morris took the defendant to and is familiar with the home of Willie Bell Gill. He testified that they are in relative close proximity to one another, divided by a wooded area.
The State then introduced reports from the OSBI DNA lab that noted the comparison of the known DNA samples from Kelvin Knight and the samples taken from the fingernail, the stocking and the glove found at the crime scene.
The court then terminated the preliminary hearing finding that there was probable cause to believe that a crime had been committed and that there was probable cause to believe Kelvin Knight committed the crime. The state then introduced records regarding the defendant’s prior conviction for robbery in Lamar County, Texas. The defendant was then bound over for trial on the charge of murder in the first degree after former conviction of a felony.
Judge Brock set the arraignment date for Feb. 7, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. The defendant remains in the Choctaw County Jail where bond has been denied.
Knight was represented by Joe Robertson with the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System.