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.
"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.