The attorneys in the case of an Auburn man accused of killing his wife’s lover argued during a hearing Wednesday that his wife’s comments to police should not be admissible in court.
Deshon Marquese Ogburn, 27, 195 Hill St., wants to invoke his spousal privilege to prevent his wife, Tiffany Neal, from testifying against him. Ogburn is charged with murder and tampering with physical evidence in the shooting death of Christopher Thomas Taylor, 21, of Bowling Green on Dec. 21 at 217A Carpenter Court. Ogburn is also facing a second-degree persistent felony offender charge.
Under Kentucky Revised Statue 504, defendants have the right to prevent spouses from testifying against them, an exception being when the two act together to commit a crime, in abuse cases, or when the spouse or their child is a victim.
Sam Lowe, a public defender representing Ogburn, argued that all statements made by Neal when police first arrived on the scene should not be allowed during trial.
Not so, said Chris Cohron, commonwealth’s attorney for Warren County - Neal’s comments were “excited utterances” made during the course of gathering information during an emergency, he said, and so should be allowed.
“We’re not questioning the statements Ms. Neal made during a later interview,” Cohron said.
Bowling Green Police Department Sgt. Josh Hughes testified that he and two other officers were the first to arrive on Carpenter Court.
“When we first got there we were still unsure what happened,” he said.
A woman told them a man had been shot and pointed them to the back of Neal’s residence, Hughes said. The three officers ran to the back of the home and saw Taylor lying face down as Neal kneeled over him, he said.
“When she saw us, she stood up, and I instinctively moved in to check his pulse,” Hughes said.
The officers didn’t know then if the shooter was still at the scene, he said.
Neal then asked if Taylor was dead and stated she couldn’t believe he had done this, Hughes said. She told police her husband had shot Taylor and that she thought he had left, Hughes said.
“I didn’t know if that meant he had left completely or if he had just left the area,” Hughes said.
Two officers then searched the residence, and Hughes said he got Ogburn’s name from Neal, as well as a description of the vehicle he might be driving. Neal also told police the address of Ogburn’s mother in Auburn, where Neal believed he was heading.
“We had a lot of other units coming to the scene and I was worried about one of them coming up on him without knowing it,” Hughes said.
On the 911 recordings, Neal can be heard yelling Deshon Ogburn’s name to police, Cohron said.
Warren Circuit Judge John Grise did not rule on the motion Wednesday, giving both sides time to file briefs. The next hearing will be Nov. 10.
According to previous testimony by city police Detective Mike Lemon, Neal told police that she and Taylor were in bed and heard a knock at the bedroom window and saw Ogburn. Neal sent Taylor to the back door and went outside to speak with Ogburn.
When the door was opened, Ogburn went straight to the rear of the house to Taylor. Neal heard arguing, then gunshots, Lemon said.
Two other neighbors have identified Ogburn as the man leaving the residence after the shots were fired, Lemon said.
Ogburn did not live with his wife because he was a convicted felon and could not live in the public housing development. Instead, he lived with his mother in Auburn.
Ogburn told police he was not at the Carpenter Court residence the night of the shooting. He told police he got off work early and then went to “the bottoms” in Logan County and drank a beer before driving back to Auburn, Lemon said.
Ogburn remains in the Warren County Regional Jail on a $1 million bond.