Accused Kingsburg murderer explains embarrassing facts

August 20, 2013 4:51:02 PM PDT
The Kingsburg woman accused of killing her husband tried to explain the evidence stacked against her Tuesday. It was day two of testimony from Kathryn Ellis in her own murder trial.

Ellis absolutely denies killing her husband, but she's had to admit to a few embarrassing facts. She took money from her teenage son without his knowledge, for instance. She also arranged to put her husband's remains in a used urn. Tuesday, she addressed some of the biggest questions in the case.

Kathryn Ellis' version of her husband's death has always implicated a mystery intruder. So a jailhouse phone conversation with her mother where she discussed trying to get out of jail on an ankle monitor raised eyebrows among investigators.

"I'm not a risk," she told her mother in the recorded conversation. "I'm not a flight risk."

"I'm going to talk to (defense attorney) Antonio (Alvarez)," her mother said.

"I'm not a risk of doing anything again," Ellis said.

But when prosecutor Stephanie Savrnoch asked what Ellis meant by "doing anything again", the accused killer was ready with an explanation.

"I was merely referring to the fact that I wouldn't do anything against the ankle monitor," she said.

Ellis says her mother, Karen Hopkins, is a close friend and confidant. But even though Hopkins picked her up at the house after Robert's murder, and they talk every day, Ellis says her mom never asked her about what happened that night.

"She didn't," Ellis said. "Her and I didn't specifically? she had gotten information from the police that were on scene plus the chaplain that had been sitting with me the entire time."

Ellis had explanations for several other questions critical to the case. She said she straightened out this bed after Robert got out of it to check on the intruder, so detectives found no imprints. She said the used urn she arranged to put his ashes in formerly belonged to a close family friend. And she said she knew almost exactly what her son would receive in Social Security benefits after Robert's death because she'd received a statement from the Social Security Administration shortly before his death in September 2012.

"What if I was to tell you the Social Security Administration stopped sending out statements in the mail in 2011?" asked the prosecutor, Savrnoch.

"I would be surprised because I had what I recall to be current statements," Ellis said.

Attorneys will make closing arguments Wednesday morning. After that, it'll be up to the jury to decide whether Ellis goes home or goes to prison for the rest of her life.


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