Murder trial: 911 call in Eunice played for jurors
LOVINGTON — An emotional 911 call by Eunice resident Samantha Chance and a “love triangle” highlighted testimony Tuesday during the first-degree murder trial in the 2016 shooting death of 30-year-old Kasey Poole.
Chance, now 26, was heard crying and sobbing as an emergency dispatcher tries to find out information about what happened in the 911 call. The dispatcher asked Chance to repeat herself several times because she couldn’t understand what she was saying. Throughout the phone call, which ends when Eunice police and EMS arrive, Chance gives her home address in Eunice, tells dispatch someone broke in and that Kasey Poole wasn’t “supposed” to come there.
In one part of the call, the dispatcher asked Chance, “What’s wrong?”
“She broke into my house,” she said while sobbing.
The emergency dispatcher later asked Chance if she needed an ambulance there.
“Yes. Yes. Please, please, please,” she replied.
The dispatcher asked who needs the ambulance.
“I shot her,” Chance said on the recording.
“You shot her? Who did you shoot? Who did you shoot?” the dispatcher asked.
“Her name is Kasey Poole,” she said.
Chance later went on to say that Kasey was her boyfriend Russell Poole’s ex-wife.
Eunice police and EMS responded the evening of Feb. 10, 2016, in reference to a woman who had been shot and located Kasey inside a home. Kasey was later pronounced dead while police investigation revealed an altercation had taken place between the two women and shots were fired.
Trial began Monday with hours of jury selection, but Tuesday marked the first full day of testimony in Fifth Judicial District Judge Gary Cling-man’s courtroom. Attorneys delivered opening statements and eight state witnesses took the stand while photographs of Kasey’s autopsy and the crime scene were also displayed at different times for the jury.
The 911 call was played during Eunice police Det. Casey Arcidez’s testimony, during which he talked about responding to the home, conducting a “walk-through,” interviewing witnesses and photographs of the crime scene. The photographs showed the interior and exterior of the home, including items found at the scene like a black .380 Ruger pistol, a lone cowboy boot, a broken bottle of Moscato and shell casings.
It was the second recording played for jurors. Earlier in the day, Eunice police officer Kevin Gutierrez testified about answering the call on 14th Street and encountering Chance crying outside the home. Gutierrez’s body camera footage showed him arriving at the home, finding Chance outside crying, seeing Kasey’s bloodied body lying in a hallway and his efforts to clear the home for EMS personnel by locating a firearm.
To kick off Tuesday’s proceedings, Assistant District Attorney Jessy Marquez and Lovington defense attorney Barry Crutchfield delivered opening statements that described circumstances surrounding Kasey’s death and what they believe evidence will show throughout Chance’s trial this week.
Marquez began with a blunt statement that Chance, Kasey Poole and Russell Poole “were in a love triangle.”
“I anticipate that you will hear that Samantha Chance shot Kasey Poole five times,” she told jurors.
Marquez said Russell was living with Chance and, during this time, he “continued” to have a relationship with his ex-wife. She said jurors will hear that Russell had gotten into an argument with Kasey at her Hobbs apartment and physically attacked her boyfriend, Daniel Willis.
“I anticipate that you will hear that Kasey was angry and that she had been drinking that night,” she said. “I anticipate you will hear that she then left Hobbs and went to Eunice where she confronts Samantha Chance.”
She later talked blood spatter at the scene, shell casings and future forensic testimony. Marquez said she anticipates “facts will show” the bullets’ entry wounds were made from different angles and positions, including from close range.
In a 17-minute statement, Crutchfield discussed Kasey’s drinking, recapped the Pooles’ relationship, her anger on the evening of the shooting and the physical altercation between Chance and Kasey. He said Kasey had been to Chance’s house before and was told she wasn’t welcome, while Chance also blocked her phone calls and Facebook.
Crutchfield said Kasey had called Willis, told him she was on the way to Eunice, and going to “kick her (expletive)” and “(expletive) her up.” At Chance’s home, he said Kasey “forced her way into the house,” yelled, screamed, assaulted her and knocked Chance to the ground. At one point, he asserted that Kasey reached for a firearm at the home.
“We believe the evidence is going to show you ladies and gentlemen that this was, in fact, nothing more than a drunken lady full of rage and alcohol — angry, who made a home invasion of Ms. Chance’s property while she was minding her own business. She didn’t invite her down. This wasn’t something pre-arranged — anything of that nature. And faced with a beating, a fight, and then an effort to get a gun, and as you will hear — if Ms. Poole had got that gun, (repeats it) — the probabilities are very high Ms. Chance would not be here today.”
A significant portion of Tuesday’s witness testimony came from Portales resident Daniel Willis and Eunice resident Russell Poole. They both gave accounts of events leading up to Kasey’s death in Eunice.
Willis was in an “on and off” relationship with Kasey at the time of her death, while Russell was her ex-husband and dating Chance. Russell told jurors Tuesday that he and Chance were dating at the time of the shooting. They are now engaged.
Willis, formerly of Hobbs, testified that he met Kasey Poole through work and they were in an “off” period at the beginning of February 2016. He explained that Russell, or Dice, caused “strain” in their relationship.
“It became apparent in our relationship that she was still seeing her ex-husband, as well as me,” Willis said.
Willis gave his observations that, “90 percent” of the time he saw the Pooles’ in the same room, they were fighting. The day of the shooting, Willis recalled he and Kasey had been drinking alcohol and they went to her apartment. He said Russell entered the apartment unannounced, told Willis to leave, grabbed him by the throat, slammed him against a wall, punched him in the eye and threatened him.
Afterwards, Willis said he walked back to his own apartment and received a phone call from Kasey about 15-20 minutes later. She told him to open his door because the two children were waiting outside. He let them in, saw Kasey leave and that she called again, saying she was on the way to Eunice.
“She stated that she was going there to fight Samantha,” Willis said.
In his own testimony, Eunice resident Russell Poole gave numerous details about the nature of his relationship with his ex-wife, their two children and the circumstances surrounding their divorce in 2015 after marrying in 2012. He testified that Kasey drank alcohol a lot, likened her behavior to “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” when she was drinking and that she had once pointed a gun at him before throwing it at him. Russell said they’d been fighting around the time of the shooting and told the courtroom that he’d been staying with Chance and went to see his children on the day of the shooting.
He testified that he found his children by themselves at an apartment and that Kasey had been drinking.
“I was a little irritated that the kids were left there by themselves,” he said.
Russell testified he got into an argument with Kasey and Willis stepped in. At some point, Russell said he lost his temper and struck Willis, he then spoke with his daughter and left for Eunice. After he arrived home, Russell said he left when he believed Kasey had arrived because he was “tired” of arguing with her, went to Allsups and drove around until he noticed emergency vehicles at the home.
He said Chance had blocked Kasey from her cellphone and on Facebook. At Crutchfield’s questioning, Russell said what happened “still impacts” Chance and she has nightmares frequently.
In other testimony, Dr. Karen Cline-Parhamovich, forensic pathologist for the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator, testified Kasey’s cause of death was due to “multiple gunshot wounds of the head and torso.” She went over her autopsy findings, autopsy photographs and explained each gunshot wound, such as their location, including her left cheek and abdomen, bullet trajectories, and the damage caused. The pathologist also reported that Kasey’s blood alcohol level was 0.17, which is above the legal limit of 0.08.
Former Eunice paramedic Derek Cox and Eunice patrol Sgt. Charles Dudley recalled responding to the home on that evening and their roles. Cox discussed checking Kasey’s vitals, how she did not show cardiac activity, and that she was deceased. Meanwhile, Dudley noted Chance’s injuries, which included lacerations and other complaints regarding her head and knee.
Sandy Brown, a field deputy for OMI, told jurors about her role in the investigation, discussed photographs of Kasey at the crime scene and how she officially pronounced Kasey dead.
Trial recessed before 5 p.m. Tuesday. It resumes 11 a.m. Wednesday in Clingman’s courtroom. It’s expected to last throughout the week.
Kelly Farrell can be reached at .