Defendant asked her to lie, she says
AMITE — Giles McGhee’s stepdaughter on Wednesday contradicted the account McGhee gave authorities of staying at her house the night before and morning of the April 2012 shooting deaths of Tamica Muse and Karum Smith in Hammond.
Testifying in his first-degree murder trial, McGhee’s stepdaughter, Nicole Flippen, told a jury that McGhee arrived at her home the morning of the slayings, told her he had killed Muse and Smith and asked her to lie to police about his whereabouts.
“He said, ‘I shot her ... Pow,’ ” Flippen told a jury in the Tangipahoa Parish Courthouse in Amite.
McGhee, 53, of Independence, is being tried on two charges of first-degree murder in the April 5, 2012, killings of Muse, 36, and Smith, 39, while the couple was in bed at their Mallard Drive apartment in Hammond.
Muse’s teenage daughter, Tremeisha Matthews, testified Tuesday she heard someone who sounded like McGhee yelling profanities before gunshots went off.
Authorities found McGhee after GPS tracking of his cellphone showed he was driving down Interstate 12 to Flippen’s home on Silverleaf Avenue in Baton Rouge, about two hours after the murders. Authorities also located at the home the maroon minivan McGhee was purportedly driving.
Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty in the case. McGhee faces a mandatory life sentence without parole if convicted.
Muse and McGhee had an on-and-off relationship that had ended shortly before the shootings.
McGhee used to live at the Mallard Drive apartment but had moved out.
In a video shown Wednesday to the jury, McGhee could be heard telling Hammond police detectives he spent the night at his stepdaughter’s house, then left the home around 6:30 a.m. or 7 a.m. on April 5 to head to his home in Independence.
McGhee said he was filling up his car in Walker when a family member of Muse’s called him and accused him of the murders. He said he then called his stepdaughter and wanted to head to Baton Rouge to contact police about the threats.
McGhee told detectives he wasn’t in Hammond the morning of April 5, but Detective Ed Bergeron told him GPS tracking of his cellphone put him near Hammond.
Bergeron later accused McGhee of murder, to which McGhee responded, “Why would I be stupid enough to do something like that?”
Bergeron added, “Do you think it was an accident that we ended up at your (step)daughter’s house at Baton Rouge?”
“I didn’t kill nobody,” McGhee insisted.
Bergeron also told McGhee that a witness — Muse’s teenage daughter Matthews — saw McGhee in the apartment.
“Whoever told you that, they lied,” McGhee responded to Bergeron. “I was not there.”
Bergeron testified in court Wednesday that detectives were incorrect in telling McGhee that Matthews saw him inside the home, although she had heard his voice.
A visibly distraught Flippen cried as she walked to the stand. She spoke quietly and dried her eyes while testifying.
Flippen said McGhee called her that morning saying he was heading to her home. He arrived and told her he needed her to tell people he spent the night and morning at her home, Flippen said.
Flippen said she joked to McGhee, “What did you do, kill ‘T’?” referring to Muse.
She said McGhee gave her a blank look.
Flippen said she pressed McGhee, who admitted to the deed.
Flippen said she initially lied to police about McGhee staying at her home, but said she changed her statement after police pressed her further about his whereabouts.
Flippen sobbed as she left the stand. A court official had to help her walk out of the courtroom.
Investigators have testified that they found at least three bullet casings in the bedroom where the shootings happened.
But investigators found no blood on McGhee’s clothes at the time of his arrest, said Michael Mercante, who was a Hammond police detective at the time of the murders.
Flippen testified she did not see blood or any kind of weapon on McGhee.
Willis Ray, McGhee’s attorney, has said in court that prosecutors have no DNA evidence or weapon that places McGhee at the crime scene.
The state and defense entered a joint stipulation Wednesday that says investigators found no DNA evidence or fingerprints that link McGhee directly to the crime scene. Investigators never found a firearm at the home or on McGhee, the attorneys said.
Ray has said McGhee and Muse had lived together but split amicably.