PUEBLO, Colo. — Prosecutors rest their case against Donthe Lucas on Friday, relying on cell phone evidence, Lucas’s inconsistent statements, and circumstantial evidence.
Lucas pleaded ‘not guilty’ to a first-degree murder charge in the 2013 disappearance and death of 21-year-old Kelsie Schellling. Schelling was pregnant with the couples’ child at the time of her disappearance.
Schelling was last seen in the parking lot of a Pueblo Walmart in February of 2013 – she’d driven there from Denver to meet Lucas. Her body was never found. Part of prosecutor’s argument is Lucas lured and tricked Schelling to Pueblo, saying he had a “surprise” in texts the two exchanged.
On Friday, the court saw a video interview between police and Lucas. The interview took place in November 2017, when he was arrested for an unrelated crime at Denver International Airport.
“She’s not texting anyone else, sje’s not calling anyone else, she’snot going to see anyone else. There’s no other possible suspect in the five years other than the person she’s calling up.” investigators told Lucas in an interview from 2017 played for jurors on Friday.
Investigators then asked Lucas about discrepencies in his story in the Schelling case – specifically regarding her phone
“These are some problems,” one investigator said. “Evidence like phone stuff shows the phone was with you for days and when we say that, that’s bad. You tell us all this stuff, then it clocks out at the moment we feel she died.”
For several days, from the early morning hours on February 5, 2017, until Schelling’s phone stopped pinging on February 7th, it would constantly ping in the same area as Lucas’ phone but, at the Canon National Bank for instance, Lucas was seen alone while taking $400 out of Schelling’s account.
“I’m just trying to wrap my head around,” Lucas responded. “I made it very clear I’m not 100 percent on everything like times,” Lucas said he and Schelling used marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol the last night he saw Schelling and said cocaine was the surprise for Schelling.
A long list of friends testified that Schelling never used drugs, hardly partied or drank alcohol and her mother Laura Saxton testified, was only on medication for her mental health.
In the series of two two-and-a-half hour interviews following his arrest at DIA in 2017, Lucas admitted the two never went to Parkview Hospital, a key part of his story to investigators in five statements and interview given to law enforcement in 2013. Instead, Lucas said, the two were trying to get drugs. No text message conversations support the story.
There is an obvious lack of DNA or forensic evidence in the case. Lucas’s DNA was found on his clothing, partial matches to areas of Schelling’s car though defense attorneys say he was in the car often.
A hair found under the spare tire in Schelling’s car tested showed it was from either Laura Saxton or Schelling and other areas sent for DNA testing in her car were not testable.
Dog searches indicated the presence of decomposing tissue in Lucas’s grandmother’s back yard and on one-floor mat in Schelling’s car, but nothing of evidentry value was found in either location.
High touch areas in Schelling’s car found no DNA at all.
In 2017, Lucas also admitted that he did move the car to St. Mary Corwin, where it was recovered and processed by police.
In the floormats of the car, dirt and soil was found and tested. A soil expert testified the soil was definitly from Pikes Peak Granite and the closest that was found to Pueblo, was west of Beulah.
Saxton was seen crying as she drove from the courthouse Friday, following prosecutors resting their case.
The defense will start bringing witnesses to testify next week.
At the outset of trial, the judge issued a decorum which does not allow media to record audio or video, take still pictures, or live report (i.e. reporters may not Tweet information from inside the courthouse)