Others implicated by Monroe murder defendant deny involvement

Others implicated by Monroe County murder defendant deny involvement

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Jessica Kennedy Jessica Kennedy
Wallace "Boonie" Stokes, Jr. Wallace "Boonie" Stokes, Jr.

BY STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

MADISONVILLE (WATE) - A man accused by a Monroe County murder trial defendant of being involved in the crime took the stand Friday and denied the accusation. 

When Wallace "Boonie" Stokes, Jr., took the stand, the defendant, Jessica Kennedy, 28, avoided eye contact, turned around in her chair and began to cry.

Kennedy previously told investigators that Stokes was involved in the shooting death of Monroe County Election Commission Chairman Jim Miller in July 2010.

Miller's body was found on Sands Road. He had been shot in the head three times and his charred body was in the trunk of his burning car.

When asked Friday if he was involved, Stokes said no.

Also on the witness stand Friday, the corrections officers at the jail where Kennedy was held said another inmate, Brandon Steele, threatened her by screaming at her, telling her to keep her mouth shut and telling her to shut up.

Kennedy told investigators in the past that Steele was also involved in Miller's murder, but Steele denied it on the stand Thursday.

Former Monroe County sheriff's Capt. Kenny Hope was called Friday as a witness for a second day. He was once a person of interest in Miller's murder, but was later cleared due to a timeline of his whereabouts.

Hope testified Thursday that he didn't say he had killed Miller, and he maintained this on Friday.

However, another witness, Brenda Stakley, told the court she heard Hope make the claim when he had been drinking.

"He just said that he had killed Jim Miller and put him in the trunk and burned him like the pig he was," Stakley said.

The jurors also heard from Kennedy's psychologist Friday. She said Kennedy was physically and sexually abused as a child and now has major depression and hallucinations.

Court began Friday morning with defense attorney John Eldridge asking for a mistrial because Special Judge Walter Kurtz didn't allow the jury Thursday to hear all three hours of a Kennedy interview tape.

Judge Kurtz didn't grant the mistrial, saying his decision not to play the entire tape was supported by law.

The defense rested Friday afternoon. Court will recess for the weekend. Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday.

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