PUEBLO, Colo. — The man charged in the 2013 murder of Kelsie Schelling returned to a Pueblo courtroom this week. Donthe Lucas’ murder trial began in early February, but was delayed for two weeks when a postive COVID-19 case was discovered in the courtroom.
Schelling, who was pregnant with Lucas’ child at the time of her disappearance, had driven to Pueblo from Denver. The two met at the southside Walmart. Surveillance video captured her car in the parking lot. In the days following her disappearance, her car was found, abandoned and dirty, at St. Mary-Corwin Hospital, a short drive away.
Schelling was not seen again. Her body has never been found.
Lucas was arrested in 2017. He has pleaded not guilty to the crime.
On Thursday, the court reviewed video of an interview between Pueblo police and Lucas. In it, Lucas said he and Schelling were not in a relationship.
“We hung out one time,” he said in the interview. “The next time she, like, confessed her love to me.”
Still, Lucas admitted he and Schelling were sexually active. He did not deny she could be pregnant, but said, at the time, he didn’t have proof of the pregnancy.
Lucas described Schelling as “sweet and caring.” He told the questioning officer he would never hurt her. Police learned of some serious inconsistencies with Lucas’s story.
Lead Detective Neal Robinson said Lucas was consistent about that he was the last person to see Schelling alive. Robinson walked jurors through surveillance video that showed major contradictions with nearly all of the statements Lucas gave police leading up to his second interview around a week after when Schelling was last seen.
Lucas claims at 7 a.m. on February 5, the day after she went missing in 2013 that he and Schelling went to Parkview Hospital for a pregnancy check-up. However, there is no record of that. After Parkview Lucas said they went to Walmart, the latest time he said is 9:30.
Surveillance video shows Schelling’s car parking at Walmart just afternoon that day. Lucas said Schelling got out to get chips. On surveillance video, it only shows one person, tall with a red hoodie get out of Schelling’s car for the nearly 18 hours it was parked. ATM video shows that Lucas took out $400 at the Canon National Bank Records, which he doesn’t deny but it’s well after the time he told detectives. Lucas told investigators that the last time he saw Schelling was when she drove off from Walmart.
At the same time, Lucas is at the bank, two texts were sent from Luca’s phone to Schelling’s, and three cell phone towers pink them in a similar area near the Canon National Bank. Robinson testified that for the two days following Schelling’s disappearance, the two phones would consistently ping in similar areas. The phones both following a regular pattern of spending days at Lucas’s mother’s home and nights at his grandmother’s home.
Lucas also sent some flirty texts to another woman, Jessica Reeves, days after Schelling disappeared. Reeves has known Lucas since middle school. The texts took place on February 9 and 10, just days after Schelling was last seen and Lucas hinting he wanted to sleep with Reeves at 4 a.m. on February 5, the day Schelling supposedly disappeared. Reeves missed a call from Schelling’s phone however she never knew Schelling.