PUEBLO — The Pueblo murder trial of Donthe Lucas, who is accused of murdering his pregnant ex-girlfriend 21-year-old Kelsie Schelling in 2013, continued Thursday following testimony Wednesday from Schelling's mother, a former romantic interest of Lucas, and more testimony from CBI agent, Kevin Torres.
It was discovered during the trial Wednesday morning that an upcoming witness in the trial was found shot to death last week in Denver.
According to a Denver7 reporter, the District Attorney said that the witness was going to testify for the prosecution this week that Lucas confessed to her that he killed Schelling. The Denver Police Department has said that they don't believe her death was connected to the trial.
It is still an open case.
There are no cameras allowed in the building and no live reporting from the courthouse. There are also limits on the number of people who can be in the courtroom because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our Colette Bordelon will be there every day and will have coverage both online and over the air. Follow her on Twitter for the quickest updates.
CBI agent Kevin Torres takes the stand again
The prosecution first called CBI agent Kevin Torres to the stand. He is continuing his testimony from Wednesday.
On redirect, Agent Torres was asked about a wiretap the CBI had placed on Donthe Lucas' phones. He said within a week of getting the warrant to do that, Lucas and his mother were making comments during their calls that suggested that they knew they were being monitored.
He said they were saying things like," say hi to the Pueblo Police" and "not now, our phones are tapped."
Pueblo Police Sergeant takes the stand and audio from interview following Lucas' arrest is played
Sergeant Cody Wager of the Pueblo Police Department took the stand next.
Wager was one of the first officers to interview Lucas after Schelling first went missing. Much of his time on the stand Thursday centered around the jailhouse interview that he and Detective Randy Purvis conducted with Lucas after his arrest at Denver International Airport in November of 2017.
Prosecutors played an audio recording of this interview for the jury. In it, Lucas complained that he'd been kept in lockdown for 23 hours and wanted to post bail to be released.
During the interview, Wager and Purvis made multiple statements to Lucas that "this is it, today's the day." To that, Lucas replied that he'd made some dumb choices in life but that couldn't say what they wanted him to say, "like there was an accident or that I hurt her."
When the detectives pressed him later in the interview to let it out, Lucas said "it's too late for that" and that he'd "lost his best friends over this stuff."
The audio recording lasted more than two hours and took up most of the time in court Thursday.
In it, the court continued to hear the detectives telling Lucas to "let it go" and that it was time to tell the truth. Lucas kept responding by saying, "I can't tell you what you want to hear."
He was cooperative with the detectives though, even giving his passcode to his phones, that he could remember. He said he couldn’t remember the passcode though to the phone he had the night Schelling went missing.
The story Lucas kept giving the detectives was that on the night Schelling disappeared, she drove to Pueblo from Denver to visit him. They hung out at his grandmother's house and drank alcohol, smoked weed, and used cocaine. He said his mom walked in on them and was upset at seeing Kelsie. Then he said at some point he passed out and didn't see Kelsie after that.
The detectives then questioned whether Lucas thought his mother could have killed Kelsie. At that point in the interrogation, he broke down and started to cry, saying he couldn't believe his mom would do something like that.
Following that first interview, Lucas called the detectives the next day. They missed that call but later conducted another interview with him. The audio of the second interview is expected to be played in court Friday.
Leading up to the trial:
21-year-old Kelsie Schelling was two months pregnant when she drove from Denver to Pueblo to see her former boyfriend Donthe Lucas. Feb. 4, 2013, was the last time Schelling was seen. Her body has never been found.
The community organized search efforts to try and find Schelling with her family filing a lawsuit in 2015 against the Pueblo Police Department and the Lucas family. The suit criticized the way the investigation was handled but was ultimately dismissed.
In December 2017, almost four years after Schelling's disappearance, Lucas was charged with her murder. By May 2018, a judge said prosecutors had proved probable cause. The lead investigator on the case from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation believes Schelling was strangled by Lucas after he lured her down to Pueblo. The theory would explain the lack of a murder weapon.
Lucas pleaded not guilty to the murder charges in August 2018, and the judge set a trial date for 2019. However, in January of 2019, both the prosecution and defense said they would not be ready to go to trial by early April 2019, because of an additional 125 witnesses who could possibly be called to testify.
The trial was then scheduled for July 2019, but Lucas' lawyers said they had new scientific evidence and needed more time to review it. In December 2019, the judge postponed the trial until May 2020, as a new lawyer joined the defense team. Then, in December 2020, the murder trial was set to start on Jan. 25, 2021.
Opening statements in murder trial begin in case of Kelsie Schelling's disappearance
Donthe Lucas murder trial will begin Wednesday
Long-awaited murder trial to begin in the case of Kelsie Schelling's disappearance
Previous coverage: The Kelsie Schelling Case