Prosecutors shoot holes in Kingsburg woman's murder defense

FRESNO, Calif.

Kathryn Ellis is charged with murdering her husband Robert last year. Prosecutors claim she was after his insurance money.

Ellis maintained her composure during most of the trial, as a detective recalled the crime scene.

Fresno County Sheriff's Detective Homero Montalvo said, "I noticed what appeared to be a body covered with a sheet at the foot of the couch in the living room area."

Robert Ellis was found shot to death in his home in September of last year. His wife Kathryn claimed an intruder came into the house and shot her husband. But Criminalist Debra Kowal of the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office said she found gunpowder residue on Kathryn Ellis' hands.

Kowal explained, "On the right hand I found many particles of gunshot residue."

Investigators from the District Attorney's Office outlined the Ellis families financial problems, showing frequent refinancing's and second mortgages of their home.

Spreadsheets showed the family was far in debt and spending more than $100,000.00 a year, on a $40,000.00 a year income.

Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Savronch attempted to lay the foundation that Kathryn Ellis killed her husband to get all of his money and life insurance.

Savronch played a recording from a telephone call where Kathryn called the bank holding her husband's IRA to empty the account and used her teen aged son Thomas to pretend to be her husband.

This is a brief excerpt from the recording: "This is Kathy Ellis I'm actually calling about my husband's account, he is here right now, but I do all the finances and he hates to do this."

The court wouldn't allow us to record the son's voice on the recording, but Thomas Ellis identified himself as his father, Robert, but stumbled when asked his date of birth. His mother could be clearly heard whispering it to him. Despite that, the bank sent the money.

On the stand the young Ellis testified about a peaceful happy home life. He said he didn't believe his mother would kill his father and said his mother wouldn't hurt a fly. He added she was an active member of a woman's shooting club and had practiced at the shooting range with her revolver just a few days before his father was killed.

Kathryn Ellis wiped tears from her eyes during her son's testimony. He smiled at his mother from the witness stand.

The prosecution is expected to wrap up its case on Thursday.

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