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Chuckie Fleming Murder Trial Day Four Friday Feb 22

 

Chuckie Fleming Trial – Day Four

 

Friday, February 22, 2019

 

By Terry Bailey

 

Seven witnesses took the stand on Friday, February 22 in the Chuckie Fleming murder trial. At the end of this fourth day of deliberation the Honorable Judge Kim Cudney dismissed the jurors for the weekend cautioning them not to discuss the trial and to not make up their mind about the case until all the evidence was heard. The trial will resume again on Monday.

 

There was one bright note among the seriousness of the proceedings. Travis Tonne, history teacher at Tipton Catholic High School, for the second day brought twelve of his students from his Government class to witness the proceedings. This was an excellent opportunity for the students to take part in the legal system first hand.

 

Jennifer O’Hare, Lincoln County attorney, called her first witness, Randy Hwavy (Ha-vee). Hwavy is a KBI Senior Special Agent in charge of field investigation. During the Fleming murder investigation he was in charge of gathering evidence, securing it, and transporting it to the KBI lab in Great Bend. He verified the evidence containers were under his care and custody from Beloit to the lab in Great Bend.

 

Don Jones, Supervisor of the Mitchell County landfill was questioned by Noah regarding the hunting of rats at the landfill. When asked how many people come to the landfill on an average day Jones said it varies but probably between 10 to 15 but it was hard to say. When asked if hunting was allowed at the landfill Jones said in not since 1983 or 84.

 

Defense attorney Julie Effenbeck quizzed Jones about the day to day activity at the landfill. Jones said garbage trucks dump garbage at the transfer station. The trash is compacted and sent to Topeka. The landfill has a dozer used to do work around the landfill. He said sometimes they accompany people to dump their loads but not those who have been there often. Pit #6 is the usual pit for dumping and it is about a quarter of a mile away said Jones.

 

Effenbeck ask Jones if it was possible with all the noise and distance from the pit that someone could be shooting there and him not to hear it. “It’s possible,” said Jones.

 

On redirect Noah asked about the fence. Jones said there was a fence all the way around the landfill. Jones said nobody hunts at the landfill but there are no signs that say “No Hunting.”

 

Gary Sporleader works at the landfill and has for about 20 years. He verified the testimony provided by Jones. He said he could not remember ever having a rat problem there. He could not recall any shooting going on. Sporleader said he knew Chuckie worked for Justin Paul’s KIWI Construction and would come to the landfill with construction demolition material to dump but he never saw him shooting.

 

Effenbeck asked if rats were a problem at the landfill and Sporleader said they were not a problem. She asked when Chuckie would come to the dump would he be accompanied to dump his material. Sporleader said Chuckie would not be accompanied since he came there from time to time. When asked by Effenbeck if it was possible for shooting to take place one-half mile away from the transfer station and not be heard Sporleader said, “It is possible.”

 

Rick Harris was the next witness and he spent more time on the stand that any witness to this this point. Harris was Carol Fleming’s boyfriend at the time of her murder and was asleep in bed with her when she was shot and killed.

 

Harris said he had been acquainted with Fleming for four or five years and had been dating her for at least three years before August of 2003. When asked how often he saw her Harris said, “Anytime I could get away.”

 

In retracing the events of August 15, 2003, Harris said he came to Beloit around 4 or 5 o’clock with his fifteen year old son David. They stopped at Carol’s shop, the Joint Effort, and Carol cut his hair. He said he and Carol walked to the Eagles Club and David stayed at the shop.

 

When Noah asked Harris what they did at the Eagles, Harris said, “We drank.” When asked how much he said, “A lot.” Harris said they left around 12:30 am and walked back to the Joint Effort and David drove them to Carol’s house. When asked if they were drunk Harris replied, “Probably, but we could still walk into the house.”

 

Harris said David went to the living room, sat on the couch and turned on the TV. He and Carol cooked some eggs, ate them, and went to Carol’s bedroom to go to bed. When asked if they checked to see if the doors were locked he said “No.” They turned off the lights and went to bed with Carol sleeping closest to the bedroom door.

 

Noah asked, “What happened next?” Harris said he woke up, rolled onto his back, smelled something, and got out of bed to check things out. He looked into the kitchen and came back to the bedroom and saw Carol on the bed. At this point in his testimony Harris broke down for two or three minutes.

 

When he regained his composure he said he had no idea what was going on but he did smell gunpowder. He checked on David and then went to the kitchen and grabbed every knife he could. He was wearing his underwear and went back into the hallway. The next thing he remembered was Chad coming in the house then the police came through the front door.

 

Noah asked him about calling the police. Harris said he called from the edge of the bed with his cell phone after he saw Carol. Noah asked, “Did you hear a gunshot?” Harris said, “Not that I know of.” He said when the cops showed up everyone was escorted out of the house.

 

Asked if he was close to Chuckie and Chad, Harris said “No.” He was mostly interested in Carol and not her family. Harris acknowledged that he knew that Carol had other boyfriends but that did not bother him. He and Carol had a “fun” relationship and enjoyed being with one another.

 

When asked if he knew Carol’s worth he said, “A lot.”

 

Harris related one argument between Chuckie and Carol. Chuckie was demanding his inheritance money. He said, “It is my money and I want it now.” Carol replied, “You will get it when I die.” Chuckie responded, “An old hag like you could live forever.”

 

Harris said Steve Fleming took him to the Law Enforcement Center. He stopped at his residence to get a pair of sweats to wear since he was still wearing only his underwear. He called his ex-wife Wendy Harris to come to Beloit and take David and him back to Burr Oak which she did.

 

Noah asked Harris, “Did you have any reason to kill Carol Fleming?” Harris said, “No.”

 

Noah then asked, “Did you kill Carol Fleming?” He again said, “No.”

 

Effenbeck cross examined Harris. She asked where lived and he lived in Burr Oak.

 

He and Carol usually went to the Eagles. Effenbeck asked who paid for the drinks and he said they both did. When asked if Carol got flirtatious when she got drunk Harris said she did not.

 

Effenbeck asked how often he was in Carol’s house. Harris said in the winter he was there several days in a row. He said there were two bathrooms on the main level but only the one in Carol’s bedroom worked. Parties were common at the Fleming house. People would congregate around the hot tub or around the kitchen table.

 

Harris said when he was in bed with Carol he woke up and felt mist. He said he did not know what is was that woke him up. He said he felt a mist then opened his eyes.

 

Effenbeck commented that when he called the law enforcement center he said “There has been a terrible accident.” She then asked, “What kind of accident did you think had happened?”

 

Efffenbeck asked was it true that four days after Carol’s death did he retain an attorney and quit cooperating when questioned?”

 

He said “Yes.”

 

She asked that was it true that in subsequent questionings did he take the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions.” Harris said that true but he was doing it on the advice of his attorney.

 

Harris also said that immunity had been discussed on one occasion.

 

Effenbeck ask if he loved Carol and Harris said that he did. She asked would do anything to help her and he said yes. She said, “If that is true why did you get a lawyer and refuse to cooperate with the authorities?”

 

When asked if there had ever been any discussion about Carol buying him or David a vehicle Harris said “No.”

 

Effenbeck then asked, “Was it common knowledge that you were in bed with Carol when she was shot?” He said “Yes.”

 

Have you been under a cloud of suspicion since that time? Harris said “No.”

 

She then asked, “If Chuckie were convicted of this crime, would that take the suspicion off you? Do you want Chuckie convicted of Carol’s murder?”

 

Harris said “Yes.”

 

On redirect both Noah and Effenbeck reviewed Harris’ testimony to confirm his answers.

 

David Harris is the son of Rick and Wendy Harris. They have been divorced for a number of years. David said it was not unusual to come to Beloit with his dad and stay overnight at Carol’s where he would sleep on the couch. On the night of Carol’s murder Carol and Rick went to the Eagles and he stayed at Joint Effort. They returned and he drove them to Carol’s house.

 

David said he went to the couch and watched TV until he went sleep. He said later Chuckie’s talking on the phone woke him up. He looked and saw Chuckie talking on the phone in the kitchen.

 

He was awakened by his dad and the police. He had to leave the house. David said he had not heard a loud noise nor did he smell anything unusual.

 

He was taken to the police station and later his mom took him and his dad home. He said he liked Carol and she had treated him well.

 

When Noah asked him if he had any reason to kill Carol he said “No.” When asked if he killed Carol he said “No.”

 

Effenbeck asked David if he was close to Carol’s sons and he said he was not close. She asked him was it true that someone talking on the phone woke him up but a gunshot did not wake him up. He said that was true.

 

Effenbeck asked if being involved in this incident had caused problems in his life. He said it had caused lots of problems. Effenbeck asked “Has this put a cloud over you and your dad?” David acknowledged it had. Effenbeck commented, “Then having Chuckie convicted of this murder would lift the cloud?”

 

Wendy Harris, the ex-wife of Rick Harris testified that she had received a call from Rick early in the morning of August 16, 2003 asking for her to come to Beloit and pick up him and David.

 

Wendy Harris said she had never seen Rick like this before. He would say, “They killed Carol,” and then say “Chuckie killed Carol.” Rick and David stayed the night with her. She said Rick locked all the doors and windows before he went to sleep.

 

Effenbeck asked her a series of questions referring to her answers on several previous sessions of questioning. For example, Effenbeck asked, “When the KBI asked you what Rick said about David what did you say?” She replied, “I don’t remember.” She gave the same response to several questions about previous testimony.

 

Travis Fleming was the final witness for the day. Travis was living in Kansas City at the time of his mother’s death. The night of her death he was visited by his brother Brad they had been out of the town drinking. He got a call about 3:30 am on August 17th.

 

When they got to Beloit the sun was coming up and he got out of the car and was walking to the house when Doug Daugherty stopped him and said he could not go into the house.

 

He said he knew vaguely about the estate plan and how his dad’s money was to be divided but he did not give much thought to it. He said Chuckie was worried and thought at the time of their dad’s death that the money should have been divided and distributed to them at that time.

 

Effenbeck asked, “Were you told of the trust?” Travis said when his dad died he heard his estate was worth about one million dollars. He knew it would be given out at certain ages.

 

Mark Noah asked Travis how many times Chuckie had talked about why they had to wait instead of getting their inheritance when their dad died. Travis said “A couple times.”

 

At that point Judge Cudney adjourned the court until Monday morning.

 


 


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