The Richmond Register

March 27, 2014

Smith: This was ‛crime of hate’

Romines says government ‛targeted’ Marcum

By Seth Littrell
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — A “crime of hate” was how Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith, in her closing argument Thursday, described the murder of Angela Frazier Singleton.

The jury in the murder trial went into deliberation after more than three hours of statements from Smith and Defense Attorney Steve Romines.

Romines, who addressed the jury first, said a narrow-minded investigation by the Kentucky State Police had targeted Marcum from the beginning as the responsible party in the murder.

“They don’t care about the truth,” Romines said of both the police and the prosecution.

The prosecution “picked fly specks” of evidence it claims as proof of Marcum’s guilt and did not give jurors the full story, he said

“Proof beyond a reasonable doubt you can’t avoid,” Romines said. “It hits you right in the face. That’s something that hasn’t happened here.”

It’s failure to mention the fake IDs that many witnesses said Singleton and his brother were making proved the prosecution wasn’t telling the whole story, Romines said. Jurors would never have heard of the IDs had the defense not brought them up, he said.

Romines also claimed prosecutors “were hiding something” by not summoning Betty Nichols, who testified before the jury Wednesday as the defense’s sole witness.

“They didn’t subpoena a witness who lived at the house” where the murder took place, Romines said.

Romines brought up highlights from transcripts and video clips presented during the seven-day trial. “The tables had turned” over the past week, he said, and by the trial’s end, the prosecution was struggling to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the defense’s theory was wrong, he said.

“You see what you want to see when you think someone is guilty,” Romines said.

When Smith rose to present her argument, she began by apologizing to Frazier Singleton’s family, some of whom were present for the entire trial, for the subject matter addressed and allegations the defense made against the victim. She said Frazier Singleton “deserved better” than what she received in the trial.

“Angela will never have a chance to be better because of that woman’s jealousy and a piece of paper,” Smith said pointing to Marcum.

By Jan. 16, 2011, Frazier Singleton had only three days remaining to return the bottom portion of her marriage certificate to the courthouse to make her marriage valid, Smith said. Marcum and Singleton wanted to prevent that by stealing the certificate, she said.

“Without the certificate, there would be no marriage, no divorce, no problem,” Smith said.

According to Marcum’s statement to police, she and Singleton went to his home to search for the certificate. To their surprise, Smith said, they found Frazier Singleton there.

While Marcum in her statement claimed Frazier Singleton was passed out on the couch, Smith said the victim was initially awake and speaking with her cousin, Vanessa Goodin, on the phone. But she quickly ended the conversation, as Goodin testified Tuesday.

Somehow, Smith said, Frazier Singleton became unconscious a short time later, although the prosecutor could not say whether it was from ingesting drugs, being knocked out by Marcum, Singleton or something else.

The two suspects then searched for the certificate, Smith alleged, but were interrupted when Frazier Singleton woke and began fighting with Marcum, receiving bruises on her hands that a medical examiner said resembled defense wounds. During that struggle, Smith said she thinks Marcum and Singleton both killed the victim.

“Look at how she was killed,” Smith said. “She was badly beaten, stabbed five times. But that wasn’t enough, so then she was strangled.”

She argued that if the murder was committed by Singleton and/or his brother in retaliation for Frazier Singleton telling police about the fake IDs, it would have been planned and likely happened away from the house. Smith said she thinks the killing was entirely unplanned because of how “messy” the scene was. She also pointed out that Singleton owned a gun, and she said he probably would have used it to kill his wife if they had planned the murder.

Smith also said the KSP, and in particular Detective Brian Reeder, had been unfairly mischaracterized by the defense. The prosecution knew of the fake IDs, Smith said, but she did not include the subject in her opening statement because she thought hearsay rules would lead to its exclusion. She pointed out that Judge William Clouse had to rule after the trial began on whether discussing the IDs would be admissible.

Smith told the jury she did not call Nichols as a witness because she did not believe Nichols would be competent enough to testify.

Finally, Smith said the defense’s case was “smoke and mirrors.”

Many testimonies, including Marcum’s statement to police, placed her at the crime scene, Smith said. The testimony was backed up by physical evidence, she added. Phone records show that Marcum and Singleton were constantly communicating before, during and after the day of the murder. Marcum visited Singleton in jail where she passed him notes, thinking they could communicate unobserved. And Marcum had even talked about seducing Reeder in hopes of hindering the investigation, Smith said.

Continue to check for the jury’s verdict.