Over Thursday and Friday last week, Commonwealth’s Attorney G.L. Ovey called Frensley and other witnesses, many of them forensics experts or law enforcement officers, in the trial of Kevin Wayne Dunlap.
Frensley testified that Dunlap, of Hopkinsville, came up to her Roaring Springs house on Oct. 15, 2008, not long before her children came home from school asking to look at her house, which was for sale. He was quiet while she showed him the house until he put a gun to the back of her head and told her she wouldn’t be hurt if she did what he said, she testified.
After all three of Frensley’s children came home, Dunlap pushed them into Frensley’s bedroom, where she was at the time, she said, adding that when Dunlap took them out of the bedroom, that was the last time she saw them alive.
Frensley said Dunlap told her it was either her or her daughters, which she said she thought meant he wanted to rape either her or her daughters, after which she testified that she told Dunlap he could have her.
Dunlap then raped and stabbed Frensley, left her for dead and started a fire in her bedroom, a fire that soon engulfed her entire house. She had to escape the fire by rolling herself into the pool because she didn’t have the use of her legs, Frensley testified.
Pictures of the three victims – Kayla Elayne Williams, 17, Kortney Lan Frensley, 14, and Ethan Zane Frensley, 5 – where shown to jurors on Thursday and Friday, and on Friday forensic experts Dr. Deidre Schluckebier and Marci Adkins as well as forensic anthropologist Dr. Emily Craig testified that all three died from their stab wounds, rather than from smoke inhalation or the fire.
On Thursday, Deputy Kenneth Butts of the Trigg County Sheriff’s Department, the first law enforcement officer on scene, described the injuries he found on Kayla Wiliams and talked about finding Frensley in the swimming pool.
Law enforcement officers testified that before she went into shock that evening, she described her attacker as wearing a DirecTV shirt, blue jeans and Reebok shoes, which were found at Dunlap’s residence three days later.
Later on Thursday, Jennie Stuart Hospital emergency room physician Kenneth Cloren and nurse Melissa Adkins testified about the severity of Kristy Frensley’s injuries and about the rape kit that was used to confirm what happened.
Rebecca McNeely, a nurse at the Jennie Stuart operating room, identified and described a knife blade that was removed from Frensley’s neck.
Matt Ledford, one of the witnesses called Thursday, recalled seeing a champaign-colored Chevrolet Silverado, with the letters “HEY” as the last part of the license plate, in the Frensleys’ driveway at the time of the incident. Various officers with the state police testified that those three letters helped lead them to Dunlap.
KSP Sergeant Sam Steger testified that when he found Dunlap’s vehicle, it matched Ledford’s description. Among the evidence gathered at Dunlap’s residence was a portion of the driver’s seat belt in the Silverado, which had blood that was later found to match Kristy Frensley’s, he testified.
On Monday morning, the prosecution played about two hours of a roughly four-hour-long interview with Dunlap that was held at the Christian County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 18, 2008, not long after he was arrested. KSP Detective Jerry Jones, the last prosecution witness called, was one of the men who interviewed Dunlap on that day.
As the audio in the video was less than intelligible, it was stopped shortly before 11 a.m., and a two-hour recess was called. During the videotaped interview, Dunlap said he wasn’t at the Frensley residence during the attack, but said whoever committed the crimes should get the death penalty.
Dunlap, who plead guilty two weeks ago to 14 charges, including three capital murder charges and three capital kidnapping charges, faces five potential sentences: 20–50 years in prison, a life sentence, life with no parole or probation for at least 25 years, life without parole or probation and the death penalty.
James Gibson, attorney for Dunlap, called several character witnesses after lunch on Monday, including his mother Sheila Dunlap, close friends Tracy and Phatrizio Bellucci and Bill Burgess.
The Belluccis both told jurors about their close relationship with Dunlap, who they said they were closer to than any of the other soldiers in Bellucci’s unit, the 160th Special Forces. They said they were comfortable when Dunlap lived with them in the early 1990s, adding that he caused no problems.
Tracy Bellucci described Dunlap as “gentle, sweet, polite and soft spoken … and a homebody,” and said they and Dunlap shared a similar sense of humor.
All of them testified that they were shocked and in disbelief that Dunlap could have committed the crimes he plead guilty to, and all described Dunlap as gentle and respectful and said he loved children.
Burgess also talked about his close friendship with Dunlap and his family, including Dunlap’s second wife Stephanie and his three children. He also testified that Dunlap became more distant about a month before the crimes, but said Dunlap told him he could work it out.
Dunlap’s mother described his childhood and the strict parenting by his father, Henry Dunlap. She talked about how Dunlap and his brothers weren’t allowed to see friends or have friends over, and how they were only allowed to eat certain foods.
Although he had several health problems as a child, he was well behaved, Sheila Dunlap said. She also stated that she loves him and still considers him to be her son.
Tuesday, the jury heard testimony from psychiatric experts, including radiologist Eric Shields and neurologist Christopher King, both of whom noted that a portion of Dulap’s right frontal lobe about the size of a ping pong ball is missing, with a vascular abnormality in its place.
Clinical neuropsychologist Michael Nicholas provided a psych profile of Dunlap, noting that Dunlap is “introverted,” “not prone to violent outbursts,” “comptetent to stand trial” and “knows right from wrong.”
In his 45-minute opening statement, Ovey outlined the various charges against Dunlap and described in detail what happened. He also commented that this isn’t like most other trials, since Dunlap has already plead guilty.
Gibson told jurors in his opening statement on Monday afternoon that while there is no excuse or justification for what Dunlap did, it’s only fair to look at Dunlap’s life and mental health.
Gibson said the jury’s goal isn’t the seek revenge against Dunlap but to mete out “an appropriate punishment.”
Both Ovey and Gibson told jurors in their opening statements that his guilt isn’t in question, but the jury still has to determine his sentence for his crimes.
While Ovey is seeking the death penalty, Gibson said he wanted the jury to give Dunlap a life sentence in maximum-security prison, where he can “die naturally.”
Hearings in the case have been held at the Livingston County Judicial Center in Smithland. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Carrie Ovey-Wiggins had earlier said that a change of venue was sought because of all of the pre-trial publicity, which she said could possibly be grounds for an appeal if Dunlap is convicted.
Woodall has been asked several times why Dunlap is getting a sentencing trial and has simply answered, “It’s his constitutional right.”
Woodall said on Monday afternoon that on Wednesday morning, both the defense and prosecution will give their closing statements.
The jury will deliberate twice, once for the capital charges and then for the other felony charges, Woodcall added.
The jury is expected to come to a decision on Dunlap’s sentence Wednesday or Thursday.