Ketitra Techelle Jones
The State of Georgia vs. Hannibal Wayne McMullen
Notes Day I
OPENING – Chief Assistant District Attorney Melanie Bell
620 days ago Ketitra Jones’ life was cut tragically and brutally short…
She had a smile that would light up a room…
Bell said that no piece of paper was going to stop him. So he stalked her, he followed her… he threatened her life. And on February 10 he did exactly what he promised Ketitra he would do. He murdered her in the street in cold blood.
Bell said that morning she [Ketitra] ran some errands, she was in a rental because had been in an accident the day before at Wal-Mart (where she worked). Said she had in the last couple months gotten closer with a guy who she had gone to school with. He asked her to bring him some breakfast and she did and who should appear but Hannibal McMullen. He was also in a rental. He pulled up in that and Eric Hardeman (the man Ketitra was dating) and Ketitra Jones spoke, he told her to go on and heard a beginning argument of Ketitra Jones asking Hannibal McMullen what he wanted. She was in the Happy J’s parking lot and heading towards the square.
Said he followed her
Said she had a gunshot wound to her face that went through the passenger side window.
Said he [Eric Hardeman] had been talking with Ketitra Jones to see if she was okay and then all of a sudden she wasn’t there anymore.
Said that Hannibal McMullen began making phone calls as he drove away and telling people that his life is over, he did it, he shot her.
Said when she initially went to speak with police in December he [McMullen] called her and he was in the parking lot of the police department because he’d followed her.
In December a 1 year protection order was issued.
Said he called Wal-Mart at 10:25 a.m. and 10:28 a.m. on the day of the murder because he was already looking for her.
There is nothing that mitigates hunting down a woman that doesn’t want to be with you anymore.
Charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated stalking, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
OPENING – Defense Attorney - Terri smith
On February 10, 2012 Ketitra Jones died… and that is a tragedy that will never be resolved… that’s not what this trial is about. What you are going to have to decide is who is to blame and what the intent level is.
Agreed that Hannibal McMullen and Ketitra Jones were in an on-again-off-again relationship and said that went both ways.
Said that the evidence is tragic and very emotional, but that when it comes right down to it the state is not going to be able to meet its burden.
Said the last thing you were going to hear about was anything cold-blooded in this case and that they would not be able to prove that he did anything with malice.
This case, while it is based on an absolute tragedy, is not as simple and as clear cut as the state is describing to you.
PROSECUTION BEGINS THEIR CASE
SHANNON DANIELS – said that she was on Washington Street driving and was almost run off the road by a truck – Ketitra Jones truck. Said that she crossed four lanes of traffic and then hit the pure sign. Said she was on the way to report the truck to the police officer that was a block or two away directing traffic. Said she thought the woman had passed out at the wheel drunk. She said she saw a car beside her and then that car sped up around her and that’s when she started running her off the road. Said the truck was initially going slowly and she was trying to pass it. Said she noticed someone inside the truck slumped over. She said she could not tell if the other accelerated or if Ketitra Jones’ car had just slowed down. Said she didn’t hear a shot because her windows were up that day and she had her radio turned up loud.
DONNA MCCONNELL – Said she was heading to her real estate office in Covington that way and was heading from Flat Shoals onto Washington Street. Said she was behind the truck and that it was weaving and she thought the person was “drunk or something” and she was paying attention to that and not any other people around her.
Said the truck went over a guardrail, coasted down and across all the lanes of traffic on Washington Street before hitting a pump. Said she thought maybe the person had a heart attack, stopped her car and ran over to the silver truck. Said she saw “a bloody mess” said there was blood all over the windshield and dash and pouring down her neck. Said she flagged the police down. Said she thought she heard a gunshot but didn’t think anything about it. Said she lives in the country and she and her kids have guns. She said she didn’t hear where the shot came from and never saw a gun.
DEPUTY PATRICK GILBERT – Been with the NCSO since 2005. On the day of the incident he was on duty and was at Washington and West Street working a funeral. Said he was approached by a woman who said there had been an accident a block away.
Said he found a female in the vehicle with blood coming from her face and mouth and that she was not responsive. Said at that point he walked to the driver’s side and tried opening the door, but. Said the window was busted – he thought from a firearm.
Said a suspect’s name came up when other officers started arriving. Said he had been in contact with him before,
OFFICER MICHAEL WALDEN – Said he was called to the accident that day. When he got there he saw other deputies had arrived and there was a crowd of several people around the truck that was stuck at the tanks. Said that he saw Ketitra Jones inside the vehicle was an injury to her head.
Said when he saw her in the car it was not the first time. Said he had seen her at Wal-Mart but also when she came to the CPD to fill out a report. Said she came to the station in December. She had already done one for terroristic threats and harassing calls previously and he said after she spoke with him he told her to contact the DA’s office. He spoke with her a day later – on December 17th – and said he again told her to contact the DA’s office. Didn’t see her again until the accident.
DR. STEVEN ATKINSON – He works at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as a medical examiner or forensic pathologist for five years and performs autopsies. He has performed about 1,800 autopsies in his career. Tendered as an expert witness in forensic pathology by the court.
He performed Ketitra Jones’s autopsy. Said the investigators in their office had been given the case information from Newton County Coroner Tommy Davis, and said it was necessary to have information about a case prior to performing an autopsy.
Said they x-ray the body bag before it’s even opened to look for bullets in the clothing, as well as inside the body.
Said she had a gunshot wound with an entrance to the right side of her face on her cheek.
There was no exit would. The pathway terminated in the bullet that was photographed later that ended up in her upper head and neck area.
Said the bullet when through her face, fractured her jaw, traveled through some facial bones and fractured two vertebras. With the hemorrhaging extending up into the brain stem. And upper spinal cord.
Said any gunshot wound involving the spinal cord or brain stem – this would have been a very severe gunshot wound based on this location. Seconds to minutes to live. “This is a severe, grievous wound.”
Said she had minor blunt force trauma of her forehead and arm, which would not have contributed to her death. Cause of death was gunshot wound to the head, and the manner of death was homicide. Said the minor blunt force trauma was caused by the car accident itself. Said he never personally observed Ketitra Jones in the truck. Said the gunshot wound was front to back downward and right to left.
ERIC HARDEMAN – He works at a barbershop off Flat Shoals where it crosses with Washington Street. Said he and Ketitra Jones went to school together, and at the time of her death he said they were close friends. Said it had been going on for about six months – the two of them getting closer. Said at the time of her death their relationship was romantic.
Said he spoke with her on the phone that morning and he had asked her to bring him some lunch and she brought him something from Wendy’s to the barbershop. Said he went out of the shop to her. She was in the truck and he went to the passenger side and opened the door. He said she said “hey” to him. While he was there with her he saw Wayne McMullen come into the parking lot. Said he was familiar with him prior to this day. Said McMullen pulled up next to the passenger side – making Hardeman’s back to his vehicle. Said they didn’t say anything to one another and he went back into the shop.
Said he kind of knew about the situation so he told her to leave and he went back into the shop. Said knew they were not on good terms. Said as he headed inside he heard Ketitra Jones say “what you want,” and that she sounded “annoyed.”
He said he saw her leave around the building and out of the parking lot toward the square and down Washington Street. He said he saw McMullen pull out as well.
He said he called Ketitra Jones to make sure she was okay. She answered and she said she was okay. He said they spoke for about two or three minutes and then the phone sounded like it had fell, and he could hear the rumbling on the floor. He hung up and tried to get her back on the phone but he never spoke with her again.
Said one of Ketitra Jones’s friends called him and he told her that Ketitra Jones had just left the shop. He said Ketitra Jones’s sister called them and he left the shop in his vehicle and heading down Washington Street toward the square. He saw the vehicle Ketitra Jones was driving at the gas station. He saw police there and told them what he had seen just prior to the accident.
Said prior to this event McMullen had called him, asking where Ketitra Jones was – roughly a month before. Said he had come to the barbershop before when Ketitra Jones was there. Admitted to initially telling law enforcement that the two were just friends initially. Agreed that the first indication something might have been wrong was when the phone appeared to have been dropped.
GREG MCMULLEN - Brother of McMullen. Said he found out his brother had a gun because someone told him. Said he didn’t remember if his brother told him that or not. However he was shown his statement where he told Capt. Bradfrd that he told him he had a gun. Said again that he didn’t remember if his brother told him that or if he told the police that. Said that if he told the police that his brother had a gun then he told them a lie.
Said he didn’t go and get a gun from his brother or try to, said he didn’t remember telling police that. And that he didn’t say he ever got a gun from his brother, just from the house they used to share and that it was a black gun.
Said he never gave a statement and that he was bring secretly recorded. Said they called him and asked him to call his brother to see where he was.
Said he doesn’t remember telling them that his brother told him he bought a gun. Melanie asked to play the first part of his statement we heard this morning already once, which has him saying that his brother had a gun.
Admitted the voice on the audio recording was him, he still said he had never seen him with it, just knew where it was. And went and got it one day when he wasn’t there.
He bought a gun. He told me he bought a gun, and he said he tried to get him to give it to him and he wouldn’t but he went there while he was at the carwash and I went and got it.
Said the audio refreshed his memory but that wasn’t exactly what happened.
Said McMullen called him and asked him where the gun was and I told him and he went and got it.
Said he was caught up and tricked and that’s not where he was supposed to be at.
I don’t remember what I said two years ago
“I don’t remember what was said that day Ms. Bell, I’m not being smart, I just don’t remember… if that’s what’s on the paper that’s what I said.”
Said I never saw him with a gun in all my life and when he got the gun he got it from a home they shared when McMullen was there.
Judge – why did you feel the need to go to the house and get the gun?
“Because we talked every day and I didn’t want anyone to get hurt.”
Said he didn’t think he knew about the TPO but was aware they had some problems, like breaking up and stuff. Said he was concerned that there shouldn’t have been a gun in the house and was concerned about his state of mind. Said don’t remember if he thought he would hurt himself, but that when they talked he was real depressed.
CORA GILSTRAP – McMullen’s aunt – his mother is her sister. She knew Ketitra Jones through him. Was aware they were in a relationship and that there were problems, and they would both talk to her about it. Said Ketitra Jones would come to her and was saying she wanted to know the truth about something and wanted McMullen to tell her… said she did not know about the TPO.
Said the day Ketitra Jones was killed she was in the drive-thru of Chick-fil-a to get food before getting her hair done. Said she got a call from McMullen and answered the call. She said at first she could hear arguing between McMullen and Ketitra Jones in the background. She said she heard him say something like “I’m tired of you playing with me,” and “you love that n****r,” or something like that.
Ketitra Jones was saying “I don’t like him,” and “no it ain’t like that.”
She said he said “Tee-Tee (her nickname) I’m tired of her playing with me.” Then the call ended. She called him back after a minute and she said that he was basically saying the same things the second time and he was crying and said something like “I hurt her, I shot her.”
Said she talked to her son and then she went on Washington Street which is when she saw all the police, people and cars. Said she went up to them and told them McMullen had told her he shot Ketitra Jones and said he had messed up his life. He also said he wanted to take his own life. She said she heard something in the background and thought it was a gunshot. She then headed over to Washington Street. She said the couple were still in a phase trying to work things out. Said the couple were arguing because Ketitra Jones wanted McMullen to tell her the truth about sleeping with her mama. And he was arguing with her about someone else she was seeing, but that they were arguing about numerous things. Said he said “I’m tired of that bitch playing with me.”
GWEN MCMULLEN – She and McMullen were married. She said he called her that day and he was hysterical and said that my life is over with and that I shot that girl. Said she spoke to him again that day and urged him to turn himself in.
RANADA HENDERSON – Ketitra Jones’s cousin, the two were very close. She starts crying a little as she talks. The two were three years apart. The two worked together. Ketitra Jones in sporting goods and she on the front end. They took the same days off, had their breaks and lunches off together a lot of time. They usually got their hair done on Thursday’s together.
She was aware she was dating McMullen and said they had been dating off and on for a few years. She said Ketitra Jones said they had good moments and bad, ups and downs. Said Ketitra Jones told her about an argument they had in 2011 about a relationship he was having with someone else… breaks down… she said he shoved her during the argument but she stayed in the relationship. She told Ketitra Jones to be careful.
Ketitra Jones also told her about some phone calls, and an incident where she had to get her number changed. Said that McMullen would say that if he can’t have her she can’t be with no one else, and he called her a bitch. Said he called the store and asked for her before and it made her feel uncomfortable.
Said he also made her feel uncomfortable because there was a time he was following her and he almost ran her off the road. Said he followed her a second time. He was behind her and it was late afternoon and he did run her off the road, pulled beside her and sped off. She told her this at the hair salon. Said Ketitra Jones was scared. Said she told Ketitra Jones to tell her mother. Said she didn’t think she ever did talk to her mother about it, but she did get a TPO and went to court and that he was there and he left but she proceeded before the judge. Said Ketitra Jones said she felt afraid. “I kept telling her to talk to her mom.”
Said she learned that Ketitra Jones was dating Eric Hardeman and she stopped talking about McMullen as often. Said she never shared the threats or that he was following her or that she was afraid of McMullen… started crying. Said Ketitra Jones told her about a phone call that McMullen made to her at work and she told her to tell a supervisor what was going on. Said Ketitra Jones told her about the incidents when she was almost, and then was run off the road by McMullen on two separate occasions in 2011, around the fall. Said she didn’t know if Ketitra Jones called the police after the first incident, but knew she did not the second time. Said the two incidents were about a week apart, but that it was right before she took the TPO out. It was a couple days after that she told her about the second incident.
Said she did not witness any of the incidents Ketitra Jones had told her about.
Said they did the make-up-break-up thing quite a few times – more than 10 times.
Said Ketitra Jones told her about starting to date Eric Hardeman around the first part of 2012. Most of the incidents occurred prior to her dating Eric Hardeman. Said most of the time she and Ketitra Jones would joke around a lot about their relationships and they felt comfortable talking about that stuff together. Said when she talked about them she would get uncomfortable, and she told her that she was scared.
Said in the phone calls that no one could have her.
SIMON MCINTOSH – said she and Ketitra Jones were close friends and they worked together – she worked in hardware. Said they would hang out outside of work. Said they would talk about their relationships, and Ketitra Jones would talk about McMullen and he would come into the store often. Said Ketitra Jones was not always aware that he was coming to the store. Said a lot of times she would go to the back and try to stay there when she knew he was in the store, because she had already cut ties and wanted to keep it that way.
Said McMullen, when he came to Wal-Mart would act nonchalant, but that he would ask to speak with Ketitra Jones. Said when he left she would usually find her and tell her that he had come [to the store] again.
Said he came while they were dating and when they would stop as well.
Said after they stopped dating she would tell her about the ups and downs in their relationship, and said that in 2011 Ketitra Jones told her she was dating Eric Hardeman. Said they went out to eat together, Dave & Busters, a Halloween party… Said while at D&B Ketitra Jones shared something with her… Started to cry… said that Ketitra Jones said if anything ever happened to her I would know who did it and showed me how to unlock her phone and get to her messages.
Said about a week before her death, flowers were sent to Wal-Mart for her from McMullen. They had a message and when she read it she didn’t let on like it affected her. I was in tears after I read the message and saw the flowers. The message said something to the effect of I’m sorry for what I’ve done. Said they were co-workers first, then friends. Admitted she never saw McMullen asking people about Ketitra Jones at Wal-Mart, she heard about it from Ketitra Jones only.
Said the last time they broke up - that she knew about – was around September or October of 2011, and then Ketitra Jones began dating Eric Hardeman. Said it was a casual dating relationship.
Said she never witnessed any inappropriate interactions between Ketitra Jones and McMullen, her knowledge is based only on what Ketitra Jones told her.
OFFICER JERRY LEE ROBERTS – Works for the Covington Police Department. He was dispatched to a report of harassing phone calls to the police department around 4:45 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2011. Spoke with Ketitra Jones and while that was happened she received a phone call. He answered the call and McMullen was on the other end. Said he knew McMullen and he recognized his voice on her cell. Said he asked McMullen where he was and he said outside the police department.
He went out to speak with him and said McMullen told him that they had broken up and he was distraught and he kept saying “I’m tired, I just don’t care anymore” over and over throughout their conversation. I told him that he was there to take a report in reference of harassing calls and that he was to stay away from her home, work, not to call her or try to reach her by third party, and that Ketitra Jones was getting a TPO against him the next day.
CRYSTAL DIGBY – Formerly a victim witness assistant with the Newton County District Attorney’s Office. One of her roles was to help people with TPO orders. There are two kinds, family violence and stalking.
She first met Ketitra Jones when she came in for assistance with a TPO. The order was filed with the clerk’s office on Dec. 7. There was a hearing on the petition Dec. 20.
Said when Ketitra Jones first came in she was visibly emotional and shaken. Said in between the order being signed and the court date she spoke with Ketitra Jones. She said her demeanor remained the same. Said she knew McMullen prior to this because of his local business. Said she saw him in court that day, but he was not there when the judge called the case. A one-year protective order was issued that day against McMullen.
When a person stays for a hearing they are served in court, if they don’t the sheriff’s office has to serve them. He was served on Dec. 28.
Said even after the TPO she continued to hear from Ketitra Jones. Said she was scared, emotional… it was obvious. Said McMullen came into the DA’s office and wanted to speak to her. He reportedly told her he left the hearing because he was scared he would go to jail.
Said that McMullen wanted to ask her what steps he should take about Ketitra Jones contacting him.
SGT. DANNY BARTELLO – With CPD. Said he knew McMullen and he spoke with him after the TPO and told him he didn’t need to get into any trouble and that he needed to leave her alone.
Said on the day of the shooting her phone records show that Ketitra Jones and McMullen had spoken on the phone.
CAPT. PHILLIP BRADFORD – Said he was called to the scene when the murder first happened. He was the one assigning tasks and he participated in interviews to do with the case.
Said that when he spoke with Greg McMullen he did not seem to have any trouble remembering things and that he told him that he took the gun from his brother.
Plays audio of him on a phone call with McMullen, trying to get him to turn himself in. says let me come to you I won’t let anyone come with me. McMullen crying saying his life is over. Bradford saying you made a mistake, your life ain’t over. You got kids, you got people that love you, you got other people you need to think about. Let me drive to you right now. He hung up on Bradford.
The second call: Bradford telling him to stay on the phone, asking him to let him come to him and help him. McMullen again saying that “my life is over, man.”
Said he continued to try and make contact with him, but was unable to reach him anymore that Friday. The next day – a Saturday – he was able to get him on the phone. McMullen is crying again. Said that part of him wanted to turn himself in and part of him wanted to end things himself.
Bradford says that everybody they talked to knows he didn’t mean to do that and McMullen agrees, saying “I didn’t!”
Said he would let him get his stuff in order and that he would come and get him, but life was not over and he needed to turn himself in for his family and grandkids. McMullen can be heard sobbing in the background.
His family tears up and McMullen wipes at his eyes as the phone call is played.
“Wayne, I know your heart and I know you been in church and there’s somebody bigger than all of us in this thing, and that’s God. “– McMullen crying again.
Bradford said that was a tactic and since McMullen was threatening to kill himself, and he knew McMullen was a churchgoing man, he was just trying to get him to agree to meet him.
Updated Wednesday, Oct. 23, 3:40 p.m. : Defendant Hannibal Wayne McMullen has been found guilty of all counts. McMullen has been charged of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated stalking, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Original story, Oct. 22: Ketitra Techelle Jones was killed in February 2012. Nearly two years later, the trial of the man accused of her murder, ex-boyfriend Hannibal Wayne McMullen, has begun.
"She had a smile that would light up a room," said Prosecutor Melanie Bell during her opening statement. "Six hundred and twenty days ago KJ’s life was cut tragically and brutally short. … There is nothing that mitigates hunting down a woman that doesn’t want to be with you anymore."
McMullen’s defense attorney, Terri Smith, told jurors that while the case was "emotional" and "tragic," the state would not be able to meet the burden of proof required to convict McMullen on charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated stalking and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
"This case, while it is based on an absolute tragedy, is not as simple and as clear-cut as the state is describing to you," Smith said.
Jurors heard from friends of the victim, relatives of McMullen, law enforcement officers and a medical examiner throughout the day Tuesday.
The case will continue Wednesday with the prosecution wrapping up. It is not known if McMullen
will take the stand in his own defense.