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Kansas City triple murder suspect marries prosecution’s key witness against him

January 23, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Kansas City triple murder suspect marries prosecution’s key witness against him

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The prosecution of a Kansas City man accused of a triple homicide including the shooting death of his own 1-year-old son is in serious jeopardy after the man married the state’s principal witness against him.

Prosecutors in Jackson County prosecutors say the marriage was a ploy to prevent 20-year-old Shellana Victoria Davis from testifying against Joseph L. Nelson under the state’s spousal privilege law.

Authorities charged Nelson, 23, with the Sept. 8th triple murders that included his 17- year-old ex-girlfriend, Bianca Fletcher, the couple’s toddler son and Fletcher’s 18-year-old boyfriend Shannon Rollins.

According to the Kansas City Star, Davis told investigators she witnessed Nelson gun down Fletcher after a heated confrontation and their son because he was afraid the baby’s cries would attract attention. He then killed Fletcher’s 18-year-old boyfriend Shannon Rollins, because he witnessed the slayings.

Nelson, who is facing three charges of first-degree murder, married Davis on December 7th while imprisoned on a million dollar bail.

Before their marriage, prosecutors sought a court order to interview Davis on tape but were too late, the pair had already married.

Prosecutors said the detailed account Davis gave of the incident was key in charging Nelson with the triple murders. According to court filings, the state is not aware of any other witnesses to the shootings, making Davis the state’s only witness.

“We believe that the actions taken were an intentional effort to hinder the prosecution of a triple homicide,” prosecutors wrote in a filing of Davis’ plan to marry Nelson.

Authorities arrested Davis on the day of the wedding on charges of first-degree burglary and tampering with evidence; She is currently held on $75,000 bond.

According to Frank O. Bowman III, who is a law professor at Missouri University, state law provides Davis the right to decline to testify against Nelson. In addition, her eyewitness statements to police would likely be ruled out because it could be considered hearsay, and would violate Nelson’s constitutional right to confront the person accusing him of the crimes.

“The privilege covers the testimony about anything, whether it occurred before, during or after the marriage,” Bowman said.

Prosecutors counter that the state’s spousal law does not apply if the victims are younger than the age of 18, as was the case of Fletcher and her son.

“If you have three homicides to be tried in unison, I’m not exactly sure how you split (them up). I guess the question arises, to get that testimony, what does the prosecution have to do?” Bowman said.

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