On July 9, 2010 Monique Kitts made a 911 call. She would tell the operator that it looked as if someone had broken into her home. Monique continued to talk to the 911 operator as she walked around her home, which investigators would say this was unusual for someone to do. It was while she was talking to the 911 operator that she would go into the bedroom of her Addis Louisiana home and find her husband dead on the bed. She would cry and yell during the call, something prosecutors would later say was an act. Corey Kitts had been shot three times while he was apparently sleeping.
Despite any suspicion that the investigators had it would be nearly three years before they made an arrest. In March of 2013 three people were indicted in the murder of Corey Kitts. The prosecutor had been looking at four people but apparently the grand jury felt differently. According to prosecutors Monique Kitts had paid Karl Howard to kill her husband. And, a man named Corey Knox, who was also indicted, would later admit being the “get away driver.”
Monique Kitts and Karl Howard would have a dual trial that would begin in October of 2014. The prosecution would argue that Monique had paid Karl Howard to kill her husband and that it was premeditated. Evidence would include phone records between all the participants and the testimony of two key witness, Corey Knox and a man by the name of David Ray Johnson. Johnson delivered milk to the daycare that Monique owned. He would admit to having an affair with Monique. He would claim that the affair had continued until some time after Corey Kitts was murdered. Monique would claim that the affair ended nearly three years prior but phone records told a bit of a different story. It appears that even if the two were no longer sexually active, even though apparently Johnson said that they were, they still had a great deal of contact through communication with each other. Johnson would testify to repeatedly taking money from Monique supposedly to find someone to murder her husband. He would testify that he never intended to find someone to murder Corey Kitts and simply took Monique's money. Johnson would be the fourth person that the prosecution had attempted to indict in 2013 but apparently there was not enough evidence to prove he was involved in any way. Johnson would also testify that he had been told by Karl Howard that Monique had given him a key to the home and that he had killed Corey Kitts. He would claim that Howard told him he expected to receive $100,000 from Monique and that when she did not pay he began to threaten her.
Prosecutors would allege that over the years Monique had made several attempts to hire people to murder her husband. To be fair I did not find anything where anyone testified to this but it does not mean there was not someone. According to the prosecution the motive was so that Monique could obtain nearly $550,000 in life insurance and another $300,000 from employee benefits from Corey's life.
Corey Knox, who would later receive a more lenient sentence for his testimony, would testify that he and Howard had “cased” the home and that on the morning of the murder while Howard went inside he had sat in the drive way in his vehicle. A neighbor had initially told police that he had seen a car in the Kitts' driveway between 7:15 and 7:45 that morning. The defense would jump on this because even though Monique was not home at that time, their daughter was until approximately 8:45 and said she heard her father snoring in his bedroom before she left. According to the prosecution the neighbor who had made this statement realized later what day of the week it was and realized it was a day in which he went to work later than others and said it could have been one to two hours later than he had first stated. The bottom line it seems is that the neighbor had testified to a strange car, or one fitting the description of the one Corey Knox would claim to be driving, in the Kitts' drive on the morning of the murder.
The prosecution would claim that Monique and Karl Howard had continued to remain in nearly constant contact for three years following the murder. They would allege that they had a total of 7,899 phone calls and texts and averaged about 88 calls and texts a day in the three years after the murder. They claimed that they had shared 713 messages in the months leading up to the killing and that Howard had texted Monique at 8:37 on the morning of the murder. What I found interesting about this particular text is the wording that was made in the article that I read. It stated that the prosecution “believed” that particular text stated “I'm on my way to do the killing.” In my opinion either this text stated that, or it did not. I also found it interesting that in the article that addressed the fact of all the text messages the two shared that this was the only one that was specific in what was said. I would imagine there were more pertaining to the murder.
Then there was an issue with a $4,000 “payment.” Prosecutors would allege that Monique left this in an envelope in the home for Howard to take. The article I read indicated that the money had been left on the morning of the murder but information later would indicate as if this was given prior. Monique would testify that about a month before the murder Corey had returned home from his third shift job around 5:30 am. She claimed that he woke her up saying that there was a strange car outside but when she looked it was not there. Later that morning he called her about an envelope that she claims she had put on the table next to the bed containing $4,000. Corey could not find the envelope and decided he would call the police. Monique would return home around the time the police officer got there. The officer apparently would testify that he found the investigation strange because Monique insisted that the officer not go into the home. The excuse was she did not want her daughter alarmed at the police presence. The officer stated this was very odd and that he had never filed a report on something that had been supposedly stolen and not been allowed into the home and shown where the item was supposedly stolen. In her testimony Monique would claim that she later found the money in the washing machine. I found no evidence that this was reported to the police to close out the file. This simply seemed to be testimony from Monique at her trial.
The defense would argue that the police had zeroed in on Monique from the beginning and that there were plenty of other witnesses. According to the defense throughout their marriage Corey had many affairs and at the time of his death he had up to six girlfriends. They would argue that while Monique's DNA was found on Corey's lips and genital areas, there was also DNA from someone else in those areas. The prosecution would not dispute this but stated it was a small sample and a secondary. This is all I found in my research pertaining to any sort of forensics. Whether fingerprints or anything else was found is unclear.
After a four week trial in November of 2014 and more than eight hours of deliberation, both Monique Kitts and Karl Howard for were found guilty of second degree murder as well as conspiracy to commit second degree murder. They would both receive a mandatory life sentence.
In Louisiana the Department of Corrections inmate search goes through a different website that gives very generic information. Basically all it tells you is that the person is there. Monique and Karl Howard were easy to find and determine they are obviously in custody. It also appears that Corey Knox is incarcerated and I can only assume it was based on his sentence in this trial. I was unable to determine exactly what his plea deal consisted of and how much time he was required to serve. It appears that he may have been charged in the end with murder, after the fact. I also thought I would look up David Johnson. His name is rather common and there were several David Johnson's so I cannot determine if he is or is not incarcerated.
This became one of those cases that I would have liked to have seen or found some more information. In fact, I attempted to do so in order to answer a few questions that I had but I was unsuccessful. One of my questions was to try and figure out how Karl Howard and Monique Kitts met. Howard was from the Atlanta Georgia area and while he had family in the Baton Rouge/Addis area of Louisiana it appears that Monique had friends in the Atlanta area. The initial idea seemed to be that Johnson had connected the two but then it seems there was no evidence of this. I would have also liked to have seen some more forensics linking Howard to the scene aside from Corey Knox's testimony. I would have liked to have found evidence that stated with certainty that the supposed girlfriends that Corey Kitt had at the time of his death were looked into. I can only assume that one of those six women matched the other DNA that was found and a bit concerned that my research only called it “unknown.” However, with all of that aside I do admit that the evidence that was presented is compelling in my opinion and does lean towards their guilt.
In the course of my research I did not come across an appeal from this case to get some more specifics and possibly answer the questions that I have. Maybe I will find that in the future.