PUEBLO, Colo. — On Thursday in Pueblo County, members of the jury for the Donthe Lucas murder trial were asked whether they had come across related media coverage. Four jurors raised their hands. They were questioned in closed court as to what they’d heard.
After questioning and without addressing the court as to the answers it heard, trial resumed.
Donthe Lucas has pleaded ‘not guilty’ in the 2013 disappearance and murder of Kelsie Schelling. Schelling, then 21, was pregnant at the time. Previous testimony painted the relationship between the two as on-again, off-again, and often times strained.
Schelling was last seen in Pueblo, she’d driven to a Walmart there, from Denver, to meet with Lucas, after the a heated exchange of text messages between the two. Her body has never been found.
Lucas wasn’t charged with the crime until 2017.
Schelling’s mother has been a consistent, vocal presence, throughout.
“Hopefully going through this long process, at some point is going to lead us to where she is,” Laura Saxton said, back in 2018.
This week, Saxton took the stand to testify that certain items which were always in her daughter’s car, vanished. She mentioned looking through Schelling’s car, which had been abandoned at Saint Mary-Corwin Hopsital in Pueblo, and noticing specific items, such as a tye-died teddy bear and a rosary, were gone.
“I asked if those things were still with the car and was told they were not,” Saxton said in court.
On Thursday, Kevin Torres, a lead investigator on the Schelling case took the stand.
Torres discussed installing wiretaps on the phones of some members of the Lucas family – though not Donthe’s phone, Torres said he didn’t have that number. He also indicated the family was aware that their phones had been tapped. He said he did not learn any valuable information through that part of the investigation.
Torres noted a discrepency when tracking where Schelling’s car had driven in the days following her disappearance – he used the location of her cell phone to figure out the mileage – and discovered about 165 miles were unaccounted for.
Torres also described several searches including the Lucas home on Manor Ridge in Pueblo as well as Lake Minnequa. When questioned as to what his teams found during those and other searches, Torres admitted they found no sign of struggle or homicide.
In an interview with the officer, Lucas said “I was high as f***” on February 4, 2013. He said he was drinking alcohol, on weed and cocaine. He claims Schelling spent the night at his grandmother’s and also went to Walmart.
At one point in the interview, Lucas claims that Schelling is drugged up in Europe somewhere. Lucas had initially told investigators that they had also gone to Parkview that day as well because Schelling was pregnant but investigators learned later from Lucas that they had actually went to get cocaine.
In the interview, Lucas said “She’s [Schelling] my best friend and you guys are telling me that I killed her. She’s my best friend to this day.”
He also claims that Schelling liked to take pills. He told investigators that he didn’t want his mom, grandma, and Schelling’s mom to find out that they were doing drugs together.
The officer also points out phone data that shows that Lucas and his mother were together when they were texting back and forth. The investigator told Lucas that from the records they can see that his mother was with Lucas after Schelling died. Lucas continued to say that he didn’t know Schelling had died or was dead. He told the investigator many times that he didn’t think she was dead and that he didn’t have anything to do with her being dead.
At one point in the interview Lucas said, “I did not see my friend die. If I did, some one else would be dead, that’s a fact.”
The officer also asked Lucas if his mom could have killed Schelling. Lucas immediately said, “No, there is no way she could of.” He then went on to say that his mother loves kids and is crazy about them. Lucas said that Schelling had already sent her an ultrasound picture. When the officer started questioning Lucas more about his mother possibly being the one who killed Schelling, Lucas began to cry.
Lucas also told the investigator that he had never seen a dead body in his life. He added that he loved her and that was his best friend but not in love with her.
The investigator also asked Lucas if his mother would kill for him. He replied “I mean probably but I don’t think she has.”
Lucas tried to explain that he could remember being at the house together but said there was a gap of time that he couldn’t remember. That’s when the investigator told Lucas that the phone records tell them what happened. The investigator is adamant in the interview that either Lucas or his mother killed Schelling or they both did.