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Archive for Saturday, September 9, 2006

Dead woman’s story on tape

Alleged domestic violence victim said boyfriend was ‘jealous’

September 9, 2006

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The voice of a woman who prosecutors say died after a domestic violence beating was heard Friday in court, as a judge listened to a CD of a recorded interview she gave to police hours after she was injured.

"Do you have any idea why he did this to you?" Lawrence Police Officer Anthony Brixius can be heard asking Linda Begay on the recording.

"Jealous," she answered.

"Of who?"

"Everybody. : I'm talking to you, he'll get jealous," Begay said.

The recording was played for Judge Jack Murphy as part of a hearing to determine whether prosecutors will be able to use Begay's last words as evidence in the trial of her boyfriend, 35-year-old Christopher Belone. He's charged with killing her by punching her and striking her in the midsection with a wooden object July 29 at Gaslight Village mobile home park, 1900 W. 31st St.

She died three days later at Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center in Topeka.

Normally, out-of-court statements like Begay's are considered hearsay and aren't admissible in court. But there's an exception: If prosecutors can show the judge by "a preponderance of the evidence" - a standard that means more likely than not - that Belone is the one who caused Begay, 37, to be unavailable as a witness, the statements can be used.

The hearing wasn't completed Friday and will resume Sept. 15. Other witnesses will include coroner Erik Mitchell and an emergency room doctor.

Assistant Dist. Atty. Trent Krug played a roughly five-minute tape in which Brixius interviewed Begay in her hospital room, about 4 1/2 hours after the initial police call. He had interviewed her earlier in the day when she was highly intoxicated, he said, but that interview wasn't recorded.

Brixius said that in the first interview, Begay said she'd passed out in a male friend's trailer at the mobile home park and that she awoke to being dragged off the bed and beaten by her boyfriend. Brixius said that in the recording, he was asking her to summarize what she already had told him.

On the tape, when asked who did it, she says, "I don't know : Chris, or whatever."

She goes on to describe being beaten, saying "He punched me with a two-by-four on my stomach three times."

Defense attorney Greg Robinson said there was no way of knowing exactly what was said in the first interview, and he suggested her story could have changed between the two interviews. He also questioned whether Begay really remembered what happened, given her level of intoxication.

"We need : a tape of that first contact," he said.

Robinson said evidence would show more people were in the trailer with Begay before her death, and that someone else may have had a motive to hurt her.

Belone's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 19.

Comments

geekin_topekan 7 years, 10 months ago

I wonder how Mr.Robinson can sleep at night trying to sugar-coat his client's brutal crime. Lyn is dead.Driven from the home by childish tyranny and countless beatings by Belone. He'll try to blow smoke by using terms like "drunken indian" and "can't remember".But after trashing a dead womans very being, Lyn will still be dead,Killed by severe and repeated beatings by Belone. These are the facts in this case.And they cannot be disputed.(I heard that on TV the other night)

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Rhoen 7 years, 10 months ago

Unfortunately, a number of attorneys I know have no problem whatsoever defending cockroach-clients: this type of obviously degenerate criminal and, even more, sleazily successful corporate criminals.

Their sleeplessness generally only comes when payment for their services hasn't.

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Sigmund 7 years, 10 months ago

It is the job of the defense attorney to insure the State can prove its allegations "beyond a reasonable doubt." If the DA can not carry this burden of proof put the blame where it belongs, on the DA's office. Everyone trashes defense attorneys, until they are accused of a crime.

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Kelly Powell 7 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Kelly Powell 7 years, 10 months ago

What? I'll repeat: I'm suprised that tschuck has not blamed whitey for this guy being scum of the earth.

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Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 10 months ago

And here I thought this was a done deal but no it is gonna drag on. I thought they had several people who saw this guy beating the life out of her?

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Jamesaust 7 years, 10 months ago

"It is the job of the defense attorney to insure the State can prove its allegations "beyond a reasonable doubt."'

Perhaps by taking out a policy with State Farm?

No. It is the job of the judge to see that the State has met its burden and the jury to certify proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

The defense attorney could, if he or she chose, to sit back and say nothing. (I can think of several trials where that would have been a smarter strategy, even.) The defenses only "jobs" are to (a) aid the judge in applying the minimum standard rules, and (b) focus the jury's attention on the many shortcomings of the prosecutor's "proof" that might not be glaringly obvious.

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BJ 7 years, 10 months ago

Quote: "Unfortunately, a number of attorneys I know have no problem whatsoever defending cockroach-clients: this type of obviously degenerate criminal and, even more, sleazily successful corporate criminals."

I CALL THEM BOTTOM FEEDERS.

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JimmyJoeBob 7 years, 10 months ago

I think it is the Defense Attorney's duty to insure their client receives a fair trial. A fair trial does not mean they get off if they are guilty. A fair trial means they are convicted if guilty. The statement should be admissable and let a jury decide.

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Rhoen 7 years, 10 months ago

The issue for some is not whether defendants have a Constitutional right to representation, it was their concern that the attorney's "humanity" might create so much cognitive dissonance when defending a real low-life and perhaps allowing that person to go on to do greater damage to the community as a whole that they wouldn't be getting enough rest.

Some responsed that a number of attorneys (though not all) are so lacking in "humanity" that they are able to focus solely on what's in it for them. They sleep quite soundly knowing that they are earning a wonderful living by "being there" for their sleazy and disgusting clients.

The Constitution doesn't address the issue of attorneys who are at least as morally challenged as their clients.

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JimmyJoeBob 7 years, 10 months ago

I do believe there are a lot of defense attorneys that are driven by the almighty dollar rather than the constitution.

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BJ 7 years, 10 months ago

Quote from DaleRogers: "It is called the Constitution - did you flunk High School government?"

You are so missing the point. The constitution dictates the right of representation in the court of law. The constitution does NOT dictate that attorneys need to be convinced of their clients' innocence. They can be completely aware of their clients' guilt and still fight for their freedom. That group (and you) I call bottom feeders. Do you understand now or do I need to simplify my wording even more?

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BJ 7 years, 10 months ago

DaleRogers, It's not very professional to call someone an idiot that you do not know. Then again, that would be hard to understand for almost any attorney.

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selene 7 years, 10 months ago

Don't take it personal BJ. Some are just over zealous and lack manners. I ignore the mean things said and try to remain on task.

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Rhoen 7 years, 10 months ago

swbsow, there may be a couple of defense attorneys in Douglas County who don't fit the bottom-feeder description.

But I doubt that there are many who would make the choice of pouring their time and legal skill into a "public defender" case if they had a corporate client or rich good ol' boy standing ready to pony up the bigger bucks for legal help getting tax abatements or IRS representation or otherwise fleecing their neighbor.

The ideals involving the defense of individuals' Constitutional rights can't really hold a candle to a nice payday for most of these attorneys.

Sorry. I wasn't born cynical about lawyers - they learned me.

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