THE COURT: Call your next witness.
MR. PANOSH: Ms. Johnson, please. Ms. Johnson. Come up, please.
JANICE LYNN JOHNSON, being first duly sworn, testified as follows during VOIR DIRE EXAMINATION by MR. PANOSH:
Q Would you state your name, please.
A Janice Lynn Johnson.
Q Ms. Johnson, if you could keep your voice up, we'd appreciate it.
Do you know the defendant, Ronnie Kimble?
A I do.
Q And how do you know him?
A From high school mostly.
Q Again, if you could keep your voice up -MR. LLOYD: Excuse me. I didn't hear. -- we'd appreciate it.
A From high school mostly.
Q And since high school, have you had occasion to
interact with him on various occasions?
A Yes, sir.
Q Do you know Theodore Kimble?
A Yes, sir.
Q And did you know Patricia?
Q How did you know Patricia?
A I knew her from South Elm Street Baptist Church.
Q And were you and she friends?
A We were acquaintances.
Q After the death of Patricia Kimble in October of 1995, did you begin to see Ted Kimble?
A Yes, sir.
Q About when did you start seeing him?
A I'd say two to three weeks afterwards.
Q And in the course of your seeing him, did there come time when he took you to the home that had been burned?
A Yes, sir.
Q And when you went to that home, what condition was it in?
A The walls had been removed. It was just mostly bare floors, and no walls.
Q It was in the process of restoration?
Q Would you describe the -- what Ted did while you were
there at the home.
A He went through the home, just kind of like, "Here's where her body was." And he went through -- he went and jumped down through one of the floors and kind of looked around, like he was looking for something, kind of. He was very -- I don't know if the word nonchalant, but he was very -- just unemotional about it.
Q In the course of speaking to him about Patricia, after the death of Patricia, did you and he discuss the insurance money?
A To what --
Q Did you and he talk about the fact that he wasn't receiving the insurance money?
A Yes. He explained to me very -- many times that he was quite upset that he wasn't getting the money in the amounts that he wanted.
Q Did there come a time when you witnessed certain documents being filled out in regard to the claim on the homeowners insurance?
Q Would you tell the Court about that, please.
A It was during the time when he had to write down things that were missing -- things that were burned and damaged in the house, such as the beds, the furniture, the bedroom suits. When it came to how old they were, he seemed to not
remember and want to put down something that was of older age or of younger age, as to the furniture and the amount that they were worth.
Q Did he --
MR. LLOYD: Excuse me. I couldn't hear the witness, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Speak a little bit louder, please, Ms. Johnson. Repeat what you said.
A The amount that things were worth, he seemed to feel that they were worth more. Things that were of age, he seemed that they were -- he would make it they were older of age or younger of age. It appeared to me that he was trying to get more money for things that were damaged or burned.
Q Did he make certain statements to you during the period of time that he was filling out that document or proof of loss?
A No, not --
Q Did there come a time when he said, "How are they going to know prices?"
A Right. He did.
Q Would you tell the Court about that, please, what he said.
A In exact words?
Q The best you can recall.
A He was like, "Well, they're damaged. They're burned.
How are they going to know exactly what they were to begin with, and how are they going to know that the damage is or the price was?"
Q And what was that discussion about?
A What specifically objects? Mostly it was about the bedroom furniture, such as like the guest bedroom furniture, their bedroom furniture, the living room, like the entertainment stuff, things of that.
Q And what was said that made you believe or led you to believe that he was overstating the value of those items?
A The tone of his voice, his actions, his -- you know, the way that he had talked about the things.
Q Did he indicate to you whether or not he expected money as a result of that insurance claim that he was filling out proof of loss?
A Yes, he did. He expected to get all the money that he had -- the things that he had wanted to replace, he thought that he would get the money to replace them.
Q In the course of that discussion, was it ever mentioned that some of those things didn't exist?
A He never said that none of the things ever existed, no.
MR. LLOYD: Excuse me. I didn't hear the response of the witness.
A He never said that none of the things had existed.
Q Did there come a time when you witnessed a conversation
between the defendant, Ronnie Kimble, and Theodore Kimble?
Q Would you tell the Court about that, please.
A Ted had received a phone call while we were at his house one evening, and he became very upset and would not speak to me about it, and wouldn't speak to anybody about it, for that fact. He immediately left and went over to Ronnie's in-laws' house and got Ronnie to come outside. And I sat in the vehicle while those two conversed quite -- as far as body language goes, they were very upset and angry.
Q And could you hear what was being said?
A No, sir.
Q After the conversation, did you have a conversation with Theodore Kimble?
A No. He remained silent. He was very --
Q Did you ask him anything?
A I didn't ask him. If he -- if he wasn't talking, I wasn't going to force him to talk. I mean, he was upset.
Q Okay. When he got back in the car, what did you say?
A I had basically just asked "Is everything okay?" And he was like, "No." And that was the end of it.
Q Did there come a time when you asked him if the conversation was about Patricia?
A No, I didn't.
Q Do you remember when this occurred?
A I don't remember a date, no.
Q Do you remember what month it was?
A It was mid-November.
Q How long did your relationship with Theodore Kimble last?
A It ended the last of November.
Q And when you say "last of November," are you talking about 1995?
Q During the period of time that you were with him, or had this relationship from late October to the end of November, do you know if he was carrying a handgun?
A Yes, he was.
Q How do you know that?
A We went to an event, and before we went to the coliseum, he had stopped at the -- his place of employment,„- had the gun in the glove box, and he showed it to me.
Q To your knowledge, did he carry that gun wherever he went?
A He did carry it, not every time that I saw him or -but he did carry it on a holster.
MR. PANOSH: That would be the substance of the testimony, Your Honor.
MR. LLOYD: Just a few questions, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right, sir.
Q Now, Ms. Johnson, you indicated that you had known my client, Ronnie Kimble, from high school; is that correct?
Q Would you characterize him as an acquaintance? Did you just know him by sight?
A We had spoken before. In fact, he had wanted me to go out with him, but I didn't want to.
Q Okay. And was this sometime when you were in high school --
Q -- that he asked you out?
Q All right. Had you had any contact, between your high school years and the time that you testified that you saw him on this occasion talking with his brother, Ted?
A I don't understand the question.
Q Had you had any contact with Ronnie Kimble, from your high school years, when he asked you out, in the intervening time, between this time when you saw Ronnie Kimble talking with Ted Kimble?
A No, huh-uh.
Q So you hadn't seen him over all those years?
Q How much time would that have been, Ms. Johnson?
A I'd say about two, three years.
Q All right. When did you graduate from high school?
A I didn't graduate. I dropped out in '91.
Q All right. So, from '91 until this time in '95, you did not see Ronnie Kimble --
Q -- you didn't have any contact with him --
Q -- is that correct? All right. Now, you indicated to Mr. Panosh on direct examination that when Ted Kimble was talking about what to put down on the insurance claim, he never indicated to you that he was putting down items that just simply did not exist?
A Never indicated that to me at all.
Q All right. And what he said to you was, that he couldn't really remember or did not know when the furniture items were purchased; is that right?
Q All right. And did he tell you that he didn't know when they were purchased, because some of them were items that Patricia had purchased before they were married?
A Some of them were.
Q All right. And so that basically, he had to make a guess, in terms of their age; is that right?
A Correct. But at the time, whenever he was guessing, I
felt like he could have called a family member, such as his mother or -- her mother or someone that might have known. I mean, she -- from my knowledge, she had roommates in the past, and I feel like one of them would have known the exact age of the furniture.
Q Now, you indicated in -- as to the time frame of this conversation between Ronnie and Ted, that you thought that that was sometime in mid-November of 1995; is that right?
A No. It's more like the end of October.
Q End of October. And when -- so this would have been towards the early period, when Ted started to date you; is that right?
A Yes, uh-huh.
Q Okay. So do you know how long you had been dating at that time, when this conversation took place?
A I would say about a week, if that.
Q All right. And you indicated that you went over to the -- to Ronnie Kimble's in-laws; is that right?
A That's what Ted had told me, yes.
Q All right. Did you know the name of the --
Q -- house where this was? And you did not hear any part of their conversation?
Q Did you actually see Ronnie Kimble at this time?
Q All right. And this conversation took place where, out in the yard --
A Out in the driveway.
Q -- beside the car?
A In the driveway.
Q All right.
A It was at night, but they were talking in front of the Jeep, where the lights were shining.
Q All right. So you were sitting inside the Jeep, the lights are on on the Jeep, and you could see them right out there in front of the Jeep?
Q All right. So they were standing right there at the Jeep; is that right?
Q All right. Now, was this at the in-laws' house, or was this at Ronnie's residence, Ronnie's house trailer?
A No. This was at the in-laws' house.
Q All right. Were you familiar with where Ronnie lived at that time?
A Yes, because we went there for supper one night.
Q Okay. Do you recall when that was in your relationship?
A It was around mid-November.
Q Okay. Now, you indicated as far as this handgun is concerned, that Ted showed that handgun to you sometime when you went to an event at the coliseum; is that right?
Q And was that the only time that he showed you the handgun?
A That he actually showed it to me, yes. But there was times when he was actually carrying it on his belt --
Q All right.
A -- that I saw it.
Q Okay. But as you indicated on direct examination, he did not always carry that handgun?
A I'm sorry?
Q As you indicated on direct examination, he did not always carry that handgun, did he --
Q -- when you were -- went out?
A (The witness shook her head from side to side.)
Q And did you all date on a -- did you date mainly on the weekends; is that right?
Q All right. Now, in terms of your relationship, Ms. Johnson, with Ted Kimble, would you characterize that as a
romantic relationship or just a casual dating situation or what?
A It was romantic.
Q Okay. So this was a serious relationship, as far as you were concerned?
Q Were you the one who broke off the relationship with Ted Kimble?
A Yeah. It was a mutual agreement.
Q All right. And what did you and Ted Kimble agree, in terms of ending your relationship?
A That he would see others, and --
Q And that you would see others, as well?
Q All right. Did you date any after that time that you had indicated that your relationship ended towards the last of November?
A Did we date, Ted and I?
Q Yes, after that.
A Oh, no. No.
Q All right.
MR. LLOYD: That's all I have, Your Honor.
MR. PANOSH: If I could.
Q When you said "we lived at the trailer," who are you
A We -- they lived at a trailer, and we, Ted and I, went to their trailer to have supper one night.
Q Perhaps I didn't understand you. When you were describing the trailer, you said something about someone living there. What did you say?
A Ronnie and his wife lived in a trailer.
Q And you went there for dinner on at least one occasion?
A Yes, just one.
MR. PANOSH: No further.
MR. LLOYD: Well, Your Honor, I'm going to let Mr. Hatfield argue this one.
MR. HATFIELD: Your Honor, I'll make it extremely lengthy. I don't think there's any relevance at all to this case, because she cannot relate the substance of the conversation between Ted and Ronnie. And the only basis for offering a statement between Ted and Ronnie would be if in some way, it showed a conspiracy between the two of them, because that's the State's theory. And because she doesn't know the substance of the conversation, it simply has no bearing on this situation. It is exactly the kind of non-evidence that is likely to mislead the jury, without shedding any light on any of the real issues in the case. If she knew what they said, and if they said something that
tended to show a conspiracy, that would be different, but she doesn't know anything.
And she would like to try to describe Ted's attitude before and after this conversation, but she has no idea what Ronnie's was, nor does she have any idea what Ronnie's demeanor was. So, you know, this is just ships passing in the night, and she would like to tell about it, for whatever her reasons are, but we submit it has no bearing on this case.
THE COURT: The State wish to be heard?
MR. PANOSH: Your Honor, the fact that they entered into a relationship two weeks after the death of Patricia which lasted into November of 1995 is certainly relevant and admissible to contradict the defense' contention that they -- that Patricia and Ted had a loving and normal relationship. That's just not a normal thing to occur immediately following the death of your wife who you've only been married to for 22 months.
The fact that she witnessed him putting down information on an insurance form which was not accurate is consistent with the State's theory that he was trying to get everything he could out of the insurance as a result of that death and the fire.
Now, the fact that she witnessed a heated discussion between Ted and Ronnie shows a continuing
relationship between Ted and Ronnie right after the death of Patricia.
The fact that Ted can go through the house and describe where his wife's body was and not be upset, but yet, he gets very upset when he talks about not getting the insurance money, fits right in with the State's theory that he didn't care about his wife, he had his wife killed. He cared about the money.
MR. HATFIELD: I'd like to say one more word, since I didn't know what --
THE COURT: Wait a minute, until Mr. Panosh is through.
MR. HATFIELD: All right. I thought he was through.
MR. PANOSH: The fact that he carried a gun on a continuous basis fits in with the State's theory that he carried that gun, State's Exhibit 84, up until the death of Patricia on a continuing basis. And that gun shouldn't have been in that house when she was killed or when that fire occurred. And we feel that's strong circumstantial evidence which supports our theory that he passed that gun to Ronnie just prior to her death.
The fact -- the very fact that she was kept out of the conversation shows that there is a relationship between Ronnie and Ted which they want to keep secret, and that
feeds into our conspiracy theory.
MR. HATFIELD: All right.
THE COURT: Mr. Hatfield?
MR. HATFIELD: First of all, Your Honor, there is no evidence that Ted Kimble passed a gun to Ronnie Kimble at any time, and Mr. Panosh knows that. So he -- I'm sure he'll be telling the jury that sort of thing when everyone else is this courtroom has sat down and has finished saying whatever they can say about this case. But nevertheless, he has no evidence to support that.
Now, with regard to her observations of Ted's demeanor when he was looking at the house and things like that, that -- I didn't object to that. I understand that the Court is going to allow a certain amount of description of Ted's mental state before and after the alleged crime occurred, and I didn't object to it. What I object to is, her talking about a conversation that she was not a party to. And that was not a conversation as was just asserted to the Court that was simply between Ted and Ronnie, if it even happened at all. It happened at the Stumps' house. They are defense witnesses. They obviously were present, also. So it wasn't a secret communication. It -- they would like to say that it's a secret communication, because the contents of the communication are unknown. But if I happen
to see two people having a conversation and I can't hear what they say, that doesn't mean that their communication is necessarily secret. It just means, I don't know what they said.
She went over there with Ted apparently. He went and spoke to Ronnie for a minute, at Ronnie's mother-in-law and father-in-law's house. Presumably they were also present. We don't know what was said. And it is highly prejudicial to let her tell about this sort of thing, because she's got some sort of bad feelings toward Ted. But of course, Your Honor, she has no bad feelings toward Ronnie, because she doesn't even know him.
So what -- I don't know what Your Honor will allow, in terms of the overall testimony that she gives, but I specifically object to her being allowed to describe a conversation that she does not know the contents of. And she also doesn't know the demeanor of Ronnie, and he's the one on trial. And if she's going to tell about a conversation she doesn't know the contents of, describe the demeanor of Ted, who she had a love affair with for a month right after -- you know, Your Honor, she's just as guilty --
MR. PANOSH: We object.
MR. HATFIELD: -- of engaging in --
THE COURT: Well, sustained.
MR. HATFIELD: -- a love affair after Patricia
died. She said she knew Patricia. She just -- it's just as
THE COURT: Well, the Court's going to –
MR. HATFIELD: -- offensive that she --
THE COURT: -- sustain the objection as to --
MR. HATFIELD: -- would do this as it is that he.
THE COURT: Mr. Hatfield --
MR. HATFIELD: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: -- I don't mind hearing you on the other, but I don't --
MR. HATFIELD: Okay. I take -- I'll stay clear of that. You've heard what we object to, and we would appreciate it if you would consider it.
Thank you, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right. The Court's going to rule that the evidence given -- that will be given by Janice Johnson is relevant, and that the probative value would outweigh any prejudicial value, with the instruction by the Court about the conspiracy.
Bring them back.
(The jury entered the courtroom at 11:23 a.m.)
THE COURT: Again, members of the jury, as to this witness's testimony, the Court would admonish you that you must again remember that this evidence may be considered against Ronnie Kimble only if you should find there was a
conspiracy, that he was a co-conspirator with Ted Kimble, and the State has satisfied you beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a conspiracy.
Q Would you state your name for the ladies and gentlemen of the jury, please.
A Janice Lynn Johnson.
Q And Ms. Johnson, did you know Ronnie Kimble, the defendant?
A Yes, I do.
Q How do you know him?
A From high school.
Q And did you also know Theodore Kimble, his brother?
Q Did you know Patricia Kimble?
Q And how did you know Patricia?
A I knew her from South Elm Street Baptist Church.
Q Did there come a time shortly after the death of Patricia Kimble when you started to see Ted Kimble?
Q When did you start to see him?
A About three weeks after.
Q And how long did your relationship last?
A About a month.
Q And during that period of time, did there come a time when Ted took you to the home that -- in which Patricia died?
Q What was the state of the home at that time? What condition was it in?
A There were no walls, and the floors were bare.
Q Okay. These jurors at the very end need to hear you. If you could keep your voice up, please. What was the state of the home?
A There were no walls, and the floor was bare. No carpet or anything.
Q Was it being repaired?
A It didn't appear to be in repair. It just -- it was stripped.
Q Okay. Was the hole still there in the hallway?
Q And what did Theodore Kimble do and say at that time?
A He pointed over to the hole and said, "That's where her body laid." And he continued going through the house, as if he was looking for something.
Q Specifically, where did you see him go?
A I assume it's a bedroom. He went into the bedroom or -- and he went and jumped down into a hole that was in the floor.
Q He jumped into the hole in the floor?
A Not where the -- not -- you know, there was like no floor, and then he jumped into that, kind of looking underneath the house.
Q And when he described to you where Patricia's body was, what emotions did you notice, if any?
Q At that time, and subsequent to that time, did you and he discuss the insurance that he expected to receive, insurance proceeds?
A We never discussed the amounts of -- or not the amounts, the -- he was very angry that he wasn't getting the amount that he wanted at the time.
Q What did he say?
A He said that he felt that he needed the money and he was going to get the money.
Q Did there come a time when you witnessed him filling out certain forms in regards to the insurance -- the application for insurance proceeds?
Q And what, if anything, did you notice about that?
A I noticed that he was having trouble remembering the
age of the furniture, and the equipment, as far as with the entertainment systems. He was guessing as to the ages. He was guessing them to be older or younger. It seemed that he was trying to get the most out of what he could.
Q What, if anything, did he say?
A He says that "How are they going to know what the age of this stuff is, or what the value of this stuff is?" the objects.
Q Did there come a time when you witnessed a conversation between Theodore Kimble and Ronnie Kimble, the defendant?
Q Would you tell the jury about that, please.
A I was at the house whenever Ted received a phone call, and he seemed very upset about the phone call. He had picked up his things and was going out of the house, to meet with Ronnie. When we got to the house, he got Ronnie outside alone, and him and Ronnie had conversed very -- from the body language, I couldn't tell what the conversation was. He wouldn't speak to me directly about it. He was very upset. When we got there, he conversed with Ronnie, and they were very antsy -- I -- you know, upset, about what had happened with the telephone conversation.
Q You said you were at the house when the telephone call came in. What house was that?
A The Kimbles' household.
Q And when you say "the Kimbles' household," which one are you referring to, which --
A His parents' house.
Q And is that where he was living at the time?
Q And who was living there with him, if you know?
A Him and his mother and his father.
Q And you said you went to another residence. Which residence was that?
A The in-laws of Ronnie Kimble.
Q Do you know their name?
A I don't know -- I don't know the last name.
Q And you described a conversation. Where did that conversation take place?
A Out in front of the vehicle. It was at nighttime, so it was -- they were standing with the headlights as their light.
Q Who was present for that?
A Just Ted and Ronnie.
Q Was this in the driveway area; is that what you're --
Q -- indicating?
Q Beside being able to say that they were very animated, what did you notice about the discussion?
A That Ted was very upset with the -- with, like I said, with the phone call, and wouldn't speak with me about it.
Q Did you try to speak to him about it?
A No, I didn't further -- I didn't further push him, as far as what was going on.
Q During the period of time that you and he dated, what, if anything, you did notice about Ted carrying a gun? A He kept it with him quite more often than I would expect someone to.
Q And specifically, where did he carry it?
A He carried it in the glove box -- I mean, not the glove box, but the center console, and also on his hip, with a holster.
Q And that relationship lasted from basically early November to the -- I'm sorry, early November to the end of November --
Q -- is that correct?
A Or the last of October to the later part of November.
Q And when you say "last of October to November," is that 1995?
Q And would you describe that relationship as being a romantic relationship?
Q And what was the reason that that relationship stopped?
A It was a mutual agreement to see others.
Q Who was to see others?
A Him and I both were to see others.
MR. PANOSH: No further questions. Thank you, ma'am.
CROSS-EXAMINATION by MR. LLOYD:
Q Now, Ms. Johnson, you've indicated that you knew Patricia Kimble from the South Elm Street Baptist Church; is that right?
Q Were you a member there?
Q Okay. So you had known her during the course of your membership?
Q And how long had you been a membership -- a member there?
A I'd say about a year.
Q And I believe you told Mr. Panosh that this relationship that you engaged in with Ted Kimble you described as a romantic relationship?
Q All right. And at some point, you considered that a
relatively serious relationship; is that right?
Q But the relationship ended, upon mutual agreement for both of you to see other people; is that right?
Q All right. Now, would you describe your association with Patricia Kimble as being an acquaintance, a friend or what?
Q All right. Were you in the same Bible study classes with Patricia?
Q All right. Now, directing your attention to this argument that you say you witnessed -- or not argument, but discussion that you say you witnessed between Ted and Ronnie Kimble, you were sitting in Ted Kimble's Jeep at that time; is that right?
Q All right. And this took place at Ronnie Kimble's in-laws' house; is that right?
Q All right. And Ted and Ronnie stood in front of the Jeep, the lights were on the Jeep; is that right?
Q All right. So the engine was still running --
Q -- is that correct? And they stood directly in front of the Jeep, and they had some sort of conversation, in which you indicated that, I believe your description was that Ted Kimble at least was antsy; is that right?
Q All right. This was a relatively short conversation, was it not?
Q All right. And after the conversation, Ted got back in the Jeep?
Q All right. And Ronnie, I assume, went back inside; is that correct?
Q All right. And you all went ahead and went on with your date, were you going to dinner or --
A No. Afterwards, we went on back to the house and I left to go home --
Q All right.
A -- because he was --
Q And you did not hear any part of the conversation?
A No, sir.
Q But you were not specifically excluded from the conversation, Ted said -- never said to you "I don't want
you listening in on this conversation" or anything like that, did he?
A He said, "Stay there."
Q All right. Okay. Stay there in the --
A In the car.
Q -- car. And there was no place for you to go, was it?
A Other than standing there and listening to the conversation would be outside.
Q Okay. There wasn't -- they never went inside the house at any time, did they?
Q All right. So -- and you don't know what they were discussing at this time?
Q You don't know whether they were discussing -- Well, let me ask you this, Ms. Johnson. When Ted Kimble made the telephone call, he made no attempt to hide the fact from you that he had spoken on the phone to his brother, Ronnie; is that right?
A I didn't have knowledge of any -- of who he'd spoken to or who the phone call came from.
Q Okay. But he told you that he was going over to see his brother, Ronnie?
Q That they were going over to Ronnie's in-laws' house?
Q So he didn't make any attempt to hide that from you, did he?
Q All right. And he was very open about that, and he said, "That's where we're going?"
A Well, he said, "We're going to go get Ronnie."
A I mean, I didn't know --
Q But you knew who Ronnie was?
Q All right. Now, you had indicated that you had known Ronnie at sometime in high school; is that right?
Q All right. And the last time that you saw Ronnie was in 1991; is that correct?
Q All right. And this was, of course, in -- what did you say, in terms of the time frame here? This was in October or November? In November of 1995?
A That I saw him again?
Q That this conversation took place.
A Yes, November.
Q All right. And the fact of the matter is, Ms. Johnson, you don't know whether this conversation regarded some sort
of insult that Ronnie had made towards Ted, you don't know what it involved, do you?
Q All right.
MR. LLOYD: That's all I have, Your Honor.
Q You were asked whether you would characterize this as a discussion or an argument, and I didn't hear your answer.
MR. LLOYD: Well, objection, Your Honor. I never asked her that.
THE COURT: Sustained.
Q Would you have characterized this conversation as a discussion or an argument?
A I would say a discussion, but it was a heated discussion.
Q And you said you left that night. Why did you leave?
A Because Ted was angry and wouldn't speak, and I didn't feel like being around someone who was angry for reasons I didn't know.
MR. PANOSH: No further questions.
THE COURT: Step down, ma'am.
(The witness left the witness stand.)
Published August 15, 2006. Report broken links or other problems.
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