Lubbock prosecutor in murder trial: ‘We still do not have her body to this day’
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - “I am not guilty,” those are the words Kody Climer spoke to the court Tuesday morning as his murder trial began in the 137th District Court.
Climer, 48, is accused of killing his 67-year-old mother, Linda Wilhite, in August 2016 over money.
The two shared a duplex in the 6100 block of 38th Street.
During the state’s opening statement, the prosecutor told jurors that on August 18th, 2016 Wilhite’s family called 911 after learning Wilhite had not answered the door to accept her Meals on Wheels deliveries, which was out of the ordinary for her.
Prosecutors said when officials entered the duplex, they found a large amount of blood in a closet, covered with blankets and pillows.
“We still do not have her body to this day,” the prosecutor said.
When Wilhite went missing, prosecutors said police could not find her vehicle or Climer.
When they did find eventually find him, prosecutors said Climer had his mother’s vehicle, which had blood in the back, and that he had access to his mother’s money.
Prosecutors also argued that Climer was angry that he never received insurance money from his brother’s deadly car accident that happened months before his mother went missing.
One of Climer’s defense attorneys, Chris Wanner, told jurors he is passionate about this case because he knows Climber is innocent.
“I know that we as a society, we need someone to blame when something like this happens. We need closure in our lives; it’s human nature. I’m going to look you in the eye and tell you Kody did not murder his mother,” Wanner said.
Wanner told jurors that police did not follow the evidence in this case.
Wanner said police found a cellphone in the duplex that did not belong to Climer or Wilhite; it belonged to man by the name of Mario Garcia.
Wanner said as police were investigating the crime scene, Garcia approached officers and asked about his phone.
“The detective came to the conclusion that he was mentally ill and didn’t have anything to offer in this case, so they ignored that evidence,” Wanner said.
Wanner also argued that three bloody fingerprints were found throughout the home on door frames and on a lights switch that police never investigated.
The first witness the state called to the stand was Wilhite’s cousin, Jackie Shelton.
Shelton described the relationship between Wilhite and Climer as “unpleasant at times" describing Klimer as angry.
Shelton told jurors Wilhite had open heart surgery years before and then had another surgery a couple of years before she went missing.
Shelton said Wilhite was on disability and could not get around well, which is one of the reasons why she depended so heavily on food from Meals on Wheels.
Wilhite’s neighbor, Martha Morales, also took the stand and became emotional as she recalled the day she learned something had happened to Wilhite.
Morales said she was home with her young daughter when she saw a firetruck pull up to her duplex to assist with the welfare check.
Morales recalled thinking something seemed wrong when she did not see Wilhite’s vehicle in the driveway.
Morales said sometimes Climer would borrow his mother’ vehicle, bit it was gone more than usual in the days leading up to Wilhite’s disappearance.
Defense attorneys asked Morales if she ever heard anything suspicious coming from Wilhite’s home.
Morales said she never heard a thing.
The trial will continue on Wednesday.
Copyright 2019 KCBD. All rights reserved.