First testimony heard at Melonie Smith murder trial


Share This file photo

BLACKFOOT – The first witnesses took the stand during the Melonie Smith murder trial Tuesday.

Smith was charged with fatally shooting David Lee Davis on Feb. 10 of this year, after officers discovered the Davis’s body in Smith’s kitchen.

Sgt. Blake Davis, with the Blackfoot Police Department, testified on the stand that he learned a murder had taken place at Smith’s home in Pingree from a source. He then contacted the Bingham County’s Sheriff’s Office.

“Guy Lopez indicated they (Lopez and his daughter) needed to report a crime,” Davis said.

When Davis began to testify to what Lopez told him, Public Defender James Archibald objected to the testimony on grounds of hearsay.

RELATED: Bingham County murder suspect pleads not guilty

In April, Lopez testified during a preliminary hearing that Smith asked for his help and told him she had killed David Lee Davis.

“(Smith) said he was on his knees by the couch and he was telling her that he didn’t want to die, that he wanted to see his kids again and that he needed a doctor,” Lopez said during the April hearing. “(Smith) said she gave him two (hydrocodone) for the pain and a glass of water and when he reached to set the water down, she shot him in the head with an armor piercing .45-70 … she said it was like putting a dog out of its misery.”

Bingham County Sheriff’s Officers, Patrol Sgt. Mark Phillips, Detective Kathy Hall, Detective Randy Herbert and Blackfoot City Police Detective Luis Champa also testified Tuesday.

Video from the body camera of Phillips, depicting the conversation between Smith and the officers outside of the home, and officers entering the home, was shown to the jurors. Detective Herbert was heard on video telling Smith that they had a report that someone in the home needed medical attention and asked her if he could come in and have a look around.

“I told her we were there to see if someone needed medical attention,” Herbert testified. “She insisted on somebody getting a warrant.”

Herbert told Smith officers would have to “freeze” the house, meaning no one could go into the home. Smith told officers her 70-year old mother Betty Duke was in the home and would need her coat. She was then told an officer would have to go in with her mother to get the jacket. Smith was then detained as officers entered the house.

The video showed that once officers entered the home with Duke, they could see the kitchen and what appeared to be a body wrapped in black plastic. One of the officers could be heard saying he could smell “it.”

RELATED: Witnesses recount events leading to grisly murder in Pingree

“As we entered the home it smelled like something was decaying,” Herbert said.

When Prosecuting Attorney Cleve Colson called Detective Kathy Hall to the stand she testified more than 150 photos she had taken of the crime scene as they were admitted into evidence. Photos depicted what appeared to be blood on couch (hide-a-bed) cushions, blankets and a mattress. Hall testified that items in the photos of debris from the wood stove in the home, were bone fragments.

Testimony from Richard Kudch, Video Surveillance Technician for the Fort Hall Casino, was also heard, as well as testimony from Will Simmons Asset Protection Manager (APM) for the Chubbuck Walmart and Blackfoot Walmart APM Mona Schmidt. Video from the casino showed Smith and Davis together beginning around 1 a.m. till 5:31 a.m. Feb. 10, at which time the two left.

RELATED: Local woman booked into Bingham County jail for murder

“Melonie talked with Davis inside the casino on Feb. 10,” Kugch told the court.

Simmons testified that Smith was seen at a self-checkout stand in the Chubbuck Walmart around 6:30 am Feb. 10.

“She was at self-checkout stand 50,” Simmons said. “There were several cans of wasp killer that come in packs of two.”

Public Defender Archibald cross-examined Simmons and asked if there were any other items purchased by Smith. Simmons said he could not remember and that he gave copies of the receipt to the detectives.

Testimony will continue Wednesday. The trial is expected to last until Friday.