PUEBLO, Colo. — The man charged with the 2013 murder of Kelsie Schelling returned to a Pueblo County courtroom on Thursday.
Donthe Lucas is facing a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Kelsie Schelling. Schelling and Lucas dated off and on. At the time of her death, Schelling had recently discovered she was pregnant.
“I could tell there was something she wanted to tell me and she was having a hard time getting it out,” Saxton recalled of the day she learned her daughter was pregnant. “I was shocked,” she said, but noted she gave Schelling her support.
The prosecution has said Donthe Lucas is the only person who would be motivated to harm Schelling, due to their volatile relationship, her pregnancy, and his access to her money and property.
The defense has pointed to the lack of a crime scene and the fact that Schelling’s body has never been recovered.
On Thursday, Ryan Rivera, an inmate who was housed with Lucas for some time, took the stand.
Rivera testified that, during a conversation with Lucas, the two talked about their individual cases. Rivera said Lucas told him there would be no conviction in the Schelling case because he’d gotten rid of the body, with help from his mother.
Rivera told the court that Lucas said, “if he was convicted he would kill himself.”
The defense focused on discrediting Rivera’s statements by bringing up his criminal past, which include drug and identity theft charges. However, Pueblo County Detention Captain Shelley Bryant, who was next to take the stand, testified that Rivera had gone to her with verifiable information multiple times and she believed him to be a credible source.
Next on the stand was Lucretia Kinzie, a friend and one-time neighbor of Schelling’s. Kinzie told the court Thursday that she’d seen texts between Lucas and Schelling and that, at one point, Lucas started texting her directly. Kinzie said Lucas would ask her what Schelling had said about him and would warn her not to trust Schelling.
When asked about Schelling’s pregnancy news, Kinzie said Lucas was not supportive.
“He didn’t want the baby,” Kinzie said. “If she were to have the baby, it would ruin his life. That was the brief description of what the text messages would say.”
Kinzie recalled Schelling being upset by those messages from Lucas.
And, although the judge had previously ruled the following information inadmissible, on Thursday he did allow Kinzie to describe to the court that, at one point, Schelling had said Lucas had hit her.
The judge clarified to the jury that the incident Kinzie described was an “alleged act” and they must not consider it in this case.
Kinzie said Schelling had also told her that her father, Doug Schelling, had strangled her.
Kinzie said after February 4, 2013, she did not speak with, text with, or see social media updates from Schelling, which was out of character.
Two more of Kelsie’s friends testified to the emotional abuse Lucas imposed upon Schelling, through text and phone calls. Her former roommate testified that it had been going on for years. The former roommate also talked about a night where Schelling took a bunch of pills. Prosecution has used witnesses to establish how out of character that was.
On Wednesday, Laura Saxton said her daughter didn’t drink a lot or do any drugs. She said the pills, Xanax, had been prescribed to Schelling.