PORT ALLEN — Prosecutors called Monique Kitts back to the stand Tuesday afternoon, as the murder-for-hire trial accusing her of paying a man to kill her husband wound down.
Monique Kitts was asked not about the 2010 death of her husband, Corey Kitts, but about tax documents she filed for a key witness in the case, a former boyfriend who claimed she sought his help finding a contract killer. Otherwise, the day of testimony was largely filled with “character” witnesses, including the couple’s son, who pleaded with jurors to find his mother innocent.
David Ray Johnson, Kitts’ former boyfriend, had told jurors she paid him four times to find a contract killer to slay her husband, and the last man he suggested committed the murder and told him about it.
Attorneys delved into Monique Kitts and Johnson’s financial entanglements Tuesday, looking at tax documents she prepared for him that subsequently landed him in hot water with the IRS.
In one document offered as evidence, Johnson claimed tax credits to send family members to All Aboard Daycare in Plaquemine, which Monique Kitts owned. He said the children, one of whom was a teenager at the time, did not actually attend the day care.
Monique Kitts said she prepared his tax documents for several years and gave him the credit “to help a friend.”
Prosecutors also contended she helped him falsify information about a carwash Johnson owned, though she said she only used information he provided.
Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton said the “scheme” landed Johnson in trouble with the IRS to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.
Johnson, who is cooperating with prosecutors, was also brought back to the stand. He repeated that Monique Kitts told him she arranged to have her husband killed. Both Kitts and the accused hit man, Karl Michael Howard, who also is on trial, face life imprisonment if convicted of second-degree murder.
Defense attorney Allen Myles retorted that everything Johnson has testified about the slaying is hearsay. He also accused Johnson of lying to the police in the past and reminded jurors that Johnson has accepted a deal with prosecutors that precludes the state from using his testimony against him.
A defense witness, Rochelle Brady, denied one of the more scintillating details raised during the trial: Johnson’s description of his three-way sexual encounter with her and Monique Kitts. Johnson described the three-way to bolster his contention that the affair with Kitts lasted longer than she acknowledged.
Brady testified she met Johnson only once and wouldn’t recognize him.
More than a dozen witnesses took the stand Tuesday. Many were friends and family of Monique Kitts, describing her as an honest and trustworthy person who was visibly shaken in the immediate aftermath of her husband’s death. For months after his killing, she rarely ate or slept, they said.
They also testified they had never heard her speak of hurting Corey Kitts or wanting him dead.
Among the witnesses was Corey Kitts Jr., the couple’s son, who said his grades have slipped since his father’s death and that he had nightmares when he has been able to sleep.
“My mom has nothing to do with this,” he said. “She’s innocent, and I want her to come home.”
Other witnesses testified on a broad range of subjects.
Defense witness Gernisha Williams said she was having an affair with Corey Kitts prior to his death, though she said they only had sex once.
Shortly before he died, she texted him through an app that obscures the sender’s phone number.
“I love you. You mean so much to me. I just wanted to let you know,” she wrote, as indicated on phone records presented by the defense.
Through the anonymous messages, she arranged to meet with Corey Kitts, though the precise timing of the messages and the meeting was unclear in records and testimony. He died before the meeting.
Myles asked Williams if she thought she had been considered a suspect in his death. She said she spoke to police “a few times” and gave a DNA sample, but did not consider herself a suspect.
Myles asked about her current fiancé, who she was dating at the time of the affair. Williams said he did not know about her relationship with Corey Kitts.
Both sides have rested their cases and are expected to make closing arguments beginning Wednesday at 9 a.m.
Follow Steve Hardy on Twitter, @SteveRHardy.