PUEBLO — The Pueblo murder trial in the disappearance of Kelsie Schelling will continue Tuesday with her brother retaking the stand for cross-examination.
On Monday, a CBI Agent read through texts between Lucas and Schelling leading up to the night she drove down to Pueblo and a Denver officer recounted responding to the missing persons call Schelling's parents made.
One of the biggest moments in court Monday was a recorded call between Lucas and a Denver detective being played. News5's Colette Bordelon reported Lucas that his tone sounded very calm and matter of fact.
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.
Supervisor at Floor and Decor called to the stand
Savannah Martin is called to the stand following Schelling's brother. She was the supervisor at Floor and Decor and inteviewed Schelling for the job as well as became friends with her at work.
She described Schelling as an overall responsible employee and knew of Schelling's boyfriend from the day she met her. Martin characterized Lucas as "using Schelling for her money," but she never met him though she saw him once drive Schelling to work in her car.
She said in court there was in-person conversation with Schelling before her doctor's appointment prior to exchanging texts the day of Feb. 4, 2013. Martin said she texted Schelling the following day because she was 20 minutes late for work, though Schelling would regularly communicate if she was going to be late or not at work.
On Feb. 5, 2013, Martin texted Schelling asking if she was OK with Schelling responding that she is at ER and does not know what is going on. Martin tries to call her, but Schelling instead responds with a text that she will call her later. On Feb. 6, 2013, Schelling did not show up for her shift and several calls were made to her. Martin said it seemed odd to receive texts quickly after Schelling would not answer the phone, but she didn't know she was missing.
At one point on Feb. 6, 2013, Schelling texted Martin that she wasn't having the baby because it was growing in the wrong place though Martin thought it was odd since it was in the right place the day before. Martin noted these were unusual conversations since Schelling did not return any calls and that she was not adverse to calling if she missed work.
The defense during cross-examination pointed out Schelling would use her phone at work mainly for text messages and not making calls at the cashier stand. They also point out that there was never a police report filed at Floor and Decor.
Schelling's father takes the stand
Doug Schelling, Kelsie's father, takes the stand and describes the Denver apartment situation. He bought the apartment as an investment in Aug. 2012 and told Kelsie Schelling she could live there if she saved enough money by the next February to find a small apartment. He payed the taxes/utilities while she was responsible for food and gas.
Her father choked up as he recalled how frequently they talked and when asked what they talked about, he said he was just a father trying to teach her all he could. He said Kelsie Schelling did not talk about her relationship with Lucas too much and described his visit to the apartment one November day and how she kept the apartment clean enough that it looked like no one lived there. He said it was a surprise to him when Kelsie Schelling spoke to him about the ultrasound since he did not know about the pregnancy prior to that
He first heard #DontheLucas’ name when #Kelsie told him she was pregnant. She told him she didn’t think the relationship would work. He said in his heart, he was upset, but just wanted to show his daughter support. @KOAA— Colette Bordelon (@ColetteBordelon) February 9, 2021
Doug Schelling said he thinks Kelsie Schelling though he would be upset about the pregnancy, but said "thank goodness I wasn't. I told her I'd be there for her." On that Wednesday, two days later, he said he tried calling her twice and that she never returned his call. Once he texted her to give him a call, he received a text back saying "I'm not feeling good."
He said looking back, "it just wasn't right" though he didn't think too much of it at the time. He suspected her being tired and feeling this way was because of the pregnancy. That Friday, Kelsie Schelling's mother contacted Doug to say she thinks they have problems with Kelsie. It was at the point where Doug Schelling said it wasn't like Kelsie Schelling and that they needed to go to the apartment to figure out what was going on.
There was also a lot of discussion about the apartment and he described the furniture looking scuffed when moving it out. One item pictured was the bed frame that he said looked like it had "busted out."
Kelsie Schelling's stepfather testifies next
Neal Saxton, Laura Saxton's husband and Kelsie Schelling's stepfather, said they made their way to Pueblo on Feb. 11, 2013, when they did not hear from Schelling. Saxton went to Pueblo separately that day while Schelling's mother went to Denver to speak to the doctor she saw.
Colby Schelling, Kelsie Schelling's brother, also traveled to Pueblo separately. The two of them organized a welfare check with police at Lucas' home. Saxton said he said this was his first time meeting Lucas. Schelling's stepfather recalled being told by Lucas that his stepdaughter arrived to Pueblo around 3 or 4 a.m. Feb. 5, 2013, and they slept at his grandmother's home before going to Parkview.
Lucas continues to tell Saxton they drove around after that, and ended up fighting in the Walmart parking lot. Schelling allegedly told Lucas to get out, and she took off. Then, the jury is told to disregard anything Saxton said about when he talked to Lucas, after a sidebar.— Colette Bordelon (@ColetteBordelon) February 9, 2021
Pueblo officer who responded to welfare check call testifies
Pueblo Police Officer Melissa Jacober responded to a welfare check call on Feb. 11, 2013, at Manor Ridge Drive. She spoke to Lucas' grandmother who redirected her to Sara Lucas' home where he lived. There, Jacober said she met Lucas who was babysitting his younger siblings. While there, Lucas told her it was his mother's home and she spoke to Sara Lucas who sounded irritated on the phone. Sara Lucas told Jacober on the phone she had been contacted by police three times and told officers she had no idea where Schelling was.
Jacober then asks Lucas when he last saw Schelling, so he told her it was on Feb. 5, 2013, when she came to Pueblo around 3 a.m. to see him though mentions the last time would have been around 9 a.m.
He said when she arrived he met her and they were arguing in her car about her being pregnant. Jacober said he indicated he did not want a serious relationship with Schelling and that she did want a serious relationship with him saying "he didn't want to be tied down. Lucas then told the officer he went back into his Manor Ridge home while Schelling slept in the car and came back out at 7 a.m. to "confront" Schelling about the pregnancy. Jacober says she wasn't told the specifics of why Schelling came down at 3 a.m.
Lucas said after he confronted Schelling, he was unsure if he believed her about the pregnancy and wants to take her to the doctor. He said they both went to Parkview and both waited in the waiting room until she is called back and he stays in the waiting room for over an hour. Lucas says Schelling said she was not pregnant and they decide to get food. Jacober said he did not mention anything about a miscarriage, but he did say nonchalantly she wasn't pregnant.
Lucas says they end up at Walmart around 9 a.m. and when the officer asked about where they went to eat, he didn't tell her any of that information. He said he and Schelling got in an argument in the parking lot and Schelling kicked him out of the car. He said he then called his mom to pick him up.
He does however mention the phone call he allegedly got from a private number - he has said that's the last time he spoke to #Schelling. The officer says at first, Lucas said that call was on February 10, but then changed his answer, and said it happened on February 9. @KOAA— Colette Bordelon (@ColetteBordelon) February 9, 2021
Our Colette Bordelon reports that the defense points out there is no audio, video, or photo evidence of this discussion between the PPD officer and Lucas. The officer says Lucas was cordial and cooperative when she spoke with him.
The defense had the officer confirm they never found a crime scene, and nothing looked out of the ordinary at either Lucas' grandmother's or mom's home, but the prosecution points out these visits were a good six days after February 5 and there would have been time to clean up.
Last witness of the day
The last witness on the stand is Jessica Martin. She called herself a friend of Donthe Lucas and said they have been romantically involved.
Martin has been interviewed previously by CBI agent, Kevin Torres. This was on Jan. 31, 2017.
Martin said she first added Lucas as a friend on Facebook in October 2016 because she wanted to help gather information about the case. After messaging, the two spoke on the phone but initially did not discuss Schelling. They first discussed the case a couple of weeks later but Matin said Lucas was mostly quiet and about it. He didn't say much other than he and Schelling were friends and she would give him money.
Martin said she last talked to #Lucas on January 24 of this year, which is the day before jury selection started in the case. She was released for the day but could still be recalled. @KOAA is the ONLY place you’ll see this sketch of Martin on the stand. pic.twitter.com/sOpDvVbxdO— Colette Bordelon (@ColetteBordelon) February 10, 2021
Martin said Lucas turned out to be a different person than she expected and began having feelings for him. She said that she initially wanted to help investigators but ended falling in love with Lucas. At this point, she could no longer provide information to the CBI. When she met with CBI Agent Torres, he told her to stop talking to Lucas and that she could get in trouble. Lucas never admitted to Martin that he had anything to do with kidnapping or murdering Schelling.
Martin added that she last talked to Lucas on January 24 of 2021. That's the day before jury selection started. She was released for the day but could still be recalled to the stand.
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