Mississippi Messages OK'd in slaying trial

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- The messages said to be placed by Tamara "Tammy" Stuckey shortly before she was killed last year are expected to be used in the trial of her accused killer.

Charles "Louie" Kuebler's murder trial was scheduled to begin Monday before Judge Winston Kidd with jury selection in Hinds County Circuit Court.

If convicted, 27-year-old Kuebler faces life in prison and couldn't seek parole until age 65.

Last week, attorneys for Kuebler argued during a pre-trial hearing that the messages should be excluded, but Kidd denied the request.

According to the Clarion Ledger the text message sent from Stuckey's phone to a friend of hers said Kuebler "is being mean" to her.

"There's no way to authenticate the text message," argued Jan Tucker, one of Kuebler's attorneys. "Anyone could have sent that message."

But Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith and Assistant District Attorney Kimelon Campbell argued the communications are valid evidence. Prosecutors have Stuckey's phone and phone records.

The text message sent from Stuckey's phone to a friend of hers said Kuebler "is being mean" to her.

Less than an hour before she was killed, prosecutors said Stuckey left another message for someone that said: "Wake up, I need you to save me."

The person who received that message is expected to testify for the prosecution, Smith said.

"Tammy Stuckey can't be cross-examined on them," Tucker said about the messages.

Smith countered, "They (Kuebler's attorneys) want to penalize the victim for not being here."

Stuckey, 28, was shot in the head at Kuebler's apartment on June 30, 2010.

"Our position is that this was an unfortunate accident," said Kuebler's lead attorney, Tom Royals, who also is being assisted by lawyer Ed Blackmon Jr.

Kuebler and Stuckey were the only people present when she was shot. He didn't tell police what happened, but some neighbors gave police statements on what they said he told them.

"He told witnesses he dropped the gun and it discharged, striking the victim," Detective Maurice Kendrick testified during Kuebler's preliminary hearing last year.

But Kendrick said the gun could not be discharged that way. "It can only be discharged if the trigger is pulled." Also, Kendrick said Kuebler had gunshot residue on his hand.

Smith said their expert and the defense's expert both concluded Stuckey was lying down when she was shot.

"There's no evidence at this time on several things," Royals said.

In addition to allowing experts' testimony, Kidd also is allowing a defense gun expert to examine the gun recovered from the scene.

Police said Kuebler was uncooperative following his arrest. They said he broke the window out of a patrol vehicle and was hollering.

In July, a warrant was issued for Kuebler when he didn't show for a court appearance, and he had removed an electronic monitoring device. Kidd also revoked Kuebler's then-$250,000 bond.

Kuebler had fled the state and was caught in Louisiana. There, Kuebler had sped off after a trooper pulled him over, authorities said. He abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot but was captured. He was charged with eluding police officers and later returned to Hinds County, where he has remained in jail pending trial.

Published: Tue, Nov 29, 2011

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