The Richmond Register

March 18, 2014

Testimonies in murder case raise tensions

By Seth Littrell
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — Witnesses took the stand Monday evening and Tuesday to give evidence in the Christina Marcum murder trial.

Family members, law enforcement officials and more testified about Marcum and Angela Frazier Singleton, the woman she is accused of killing in 2011, and Jason Singleton, a former boyfriend who was married to Frazier Singleton.

The resulting stories left jurors and the audience with a picture of three people struggling with drug use, criminal activity and fighting.

Robert Kelley-discovered the remains

Robert Kelley described the morning he found Frazier Singleton’s cut up remains in six black plastic bags on a rural roadside.

Before retiring from his job to battle cancer, Kelley said he worked on farmland owned by Larry Jones near Tates Creek. He was using a tractor to take a bale of hay from one part of the property to another when he noticed the bags lying in and around a ditch. He said people often dumped garbage in the location, and when trash was found he went through it hoping to discover who left it so they could be prosecuted.

When he got to the first bag and began opening it, Kelley said he thought someone had gutted a deer and dumped the remains. All the items had been double bagged, and he described feeling what he thought was deer hair through the plastic as he worked to undo the knots.

When he finally got the bag open, he found Frazier Singleton’s severed head inside.

“It was the cruelest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Kelley recalled.

He immediately went to his house and called 911.

Law enforcement originally believed the head may have been from to a mannequin, Kelley said, but when he brought sheriff’s deputies to the scene, they confirmed the remains were human.

Carlos Coyle-deputy coroner

Deputy Coroner Carlos Coyle responded to the scene after Kelley alerted authorities. Coyle said he recorded where the bags were located, then collected them to be sent to the state medical examiner’s office. While he could not officially identify the remains as Frazier Singleton, he said he “strongly felt that was a possibility.”

Victoria Graham-medical examiner

At the medical examiner’s office, Victoria Graham conducted an autopsy to determine the cause of death. She said Frazier Singleton died from asphyxia caused by strangulation. She based her conclusion on bruises around the victim’s throat and hemorrhages from various burst blood vessels.

However, that was only part of extensive damages her body had received, Graham said.

She also had suffered a fractured nose, several broken ribs and multiple cuts that seem to suggest the removal of tattooed areas from her body, she continued.

In addition, her body showed signs of puncture wounds, which could not be further investigated because the body was dismembered. There also were three blunt-force wounds to the skull.

In her opening statement, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith suggested the blunt wounds may have come from a woman’s boot with a pronounced heel.

Graham said the shape and size of the wound could have been inflicted by a variety of objects, and she was unable to narrow the possibilities to a single item.

A large bruise on Frazier Singleton’s hand was consistent with self-defense bruising, Graham said, and it was likely the woman tried to fight back when she was attacked.

The autopsy also revealed that Frazier Singleton likely had a long-term drug problem, Graham said.

Evidence of methamphetamine, amphetamine (can be a metabolite or product of meth use or its own drug), diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax) and marijuana were found after testing the victim’s blood. Similar substances or their products also were found in urine samples, leading Graham to believe the victim’s drug use was long term, she said.

The amount of drugs in Frazier Singleton’s body was 20 times more than the therapeutic level, and it would have likely killed someone who was not a heavy user, Graham said.

Nancy Canada-Frazier Singleton's mother

Mother of the victim, Nancy Canada, gave the first testimony Monday afternoon. Canada told the jury she talked to her daughter regularly, but when she couldn’t get in touch with her Jan. 16, 2011, she and others frantically began phoning Frazier Singleton to see if she was all right. When she called again the following day and learned her daughter’s voice mailbox was full, she knew something was wrong.

Canada said she notified police and reported her daughter as missing.

After Frazier Singleton’s disappearance, Canada took custody of her two young granddaughters, who were 5 years old and 5 months old.

Canada said she was unaware of Frazier Singleton ever having a drug problem but that it could have happened without her knowledge.

Vanessa Goodin-Frazier Singleton’s cousin

Vanessa Goodin told the court that she grew up with Frazier Singleton, her cousin, and they were very close. She also discussed having a friendship with Marcum before the two other women met.

Goodin said that while Frazier Singleton’s oldest daughter, now 8, is verbally communicating, she is a special-needs child and was largely nonverbal in 2011.

In his opening statement, defense attorney Steve Romines said Singleton and his wife may have attempted teaching the child to tell people Frazier Singleton’s stepmother sexually assaulted her while they were using drugs.

Goodin also said that she had heard her cousin was killed because she told Kentucky State Police about Jason forging IDs and payroll checks. However, she said the information came from her friend, who heard it from another friend who was married to a KSP trooper not involved in the investigation. Goodin said she also was told by the same person that the murder may have been gang-related.

Goodin testified to seeing Marcum act violently toward Jason Singleton when the two were dating. She recalled a barbecue that occurred near the beginning of September 2010 where Singleton was giving her and her friend Nikki career advice. According to Goodin, the two women were about to quit their jobs and needed to find new employment.

She said Marcum began making a noise inside the house where they were, and when the three went to investigate, Marcum attacked Singleton.

“She jumped on his back and physically attacked him in front of all the barbecue guests,” Goodin said.

After being kicked out by the homeowner, Singleton got in his car and drove away, leaving Marcum, Goodin said. She took Marcum away from the party to her house, where Marcum refused to go inside, remaining in the driveway and acting upset over Singleton, Goodin added.

She said Marcum also told her she was drunk and had taken some Xanax before the barbecue. She stayed at Goodin’s house until Singleton picked her up about 3 a.m., Goodin said.

After Marcum and Singleton broke up, Goodin said she introduced Singleton to her cousin after they crossed paths on a night out.

“They met because of me,” Goodin said. “I think about that all the time.”

After Singleton and Goodin’s cousin married three days later, they began getting harassing calls form Marcum, Goodin said. The couple called the police several times because of the matter, and Singleton left his wife a gun when he went to work in the mornings, she added.

However, it wasn’t long before Singleton had a change of heart toward his wife, and Goodin recalled a night when he told Frazier Singleton to leave the house because he was throwing a party and didn’t want her there.

Afterward, Frazier Singleton learned she had to leave because Marcum was coming over, Goodin said.

Finally, Frazier Singleton decided she had enough, her cousin said.

“She wanted to make some quick cash by stripping to get an apartment,” Goodin explained.

Goodin said the last time she spoke to Frazier Singleton was Jan. 16, 2011, the day she was murdered. Her cousin was waiting at Singleton’s home for him to show up. She wanted him to return about $300 he had borrowed and then she would be gone for good. The two talked over the phone, and Frazier Singleton said she would call Goodin back, but no call was ever returned, Goodin said.

She told the court that she knew Frazier Singleton had used pills and marijuana in the past, but had no knowledge of her ever doing meth, and her cousin seemed sober every time they interacted.

Matthew Gates-Somerset Police Department

SPD Officer Matthew Gates described for the court the Jan. 20 hostage situation involving Singleton.

Gates said he was one of six responding officers who pursued Singleton from the Somerset Mall to the Super Service Trucking Company, where he took four hostages in a standoff with police. Having negotiation training, Gates contacted Singleton and spoke with him. Singleton asked multiple times to call Marcum, so the officer said he did.

“At this point Singleton was in the surrendering process, and I remember Christina telling me about a girlfriend who wouldn’t leave him alone and whose car was found on the interstate.”

When Gates was about to end the conversation, he said Marcum asked, “Am I going to be involved in this?”

“That stuck with me,” Gates said. “Why would you ask that if you’re not there (in Somerset).”

Romines said the question was understandable, given the nature of the situation.

“You don’t get a call like that every day,” the defense attorney said.