Last Modified: Sunday, September 09, 2012 11:58 PM
DERIDDER — Mark Herford, Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office’s lead detective in Kimberly Ann Stephens’ death, testified Friday that a flip-flop and diapers recovered from the home of Billie Joe Weldon were consistent with a shoe-print and a dirty diaper found at the murder scene.
Weldon is on trial for second-degree murder in the death of Stephens, whose body was found Aug. 26, 2009 in a vacant lot on Granberry Road, south of DeRidder.
Prosecutors accuse Weldon of killing Stephens Sunday Aug. 23, 2009.
The jury also saw a taped interview of Weldon’s son, conducted by detective Janet Beebe and heard testimony from the BPSO’s former evidence custodian, Carla Smith.
Only one flip-flop was recovered from Weldon’s home, Herford said.
Defense attorney David Wallace produced four flip-flops he said he purchased from WalMart and asked Herford if any of those had the same tread. One was similar, Herford said.
Herford said that because the diaper found at the scene was soiled, pieces of it were removed for evidence and the rest disposed of.
Wallace also asked about a fingerprint found on black tape wrapped around Stephens’ wrist.
Herford testified that it was not Stephens’ nor Weldon’s.
“Try as we might, we have never been able match up that fingerprint, have we?” Wallace asked.
“No sir,” Herford replied.
Wallace also asked Herford about Derek Cantrell, who said he saw Stephens at a Circle K after dark the night of Aug. 23, 2009, according to Wallace.
Herford said that Stephens’ death happened between 8-9:15 p.m.
The video tape from the Circle K was offered by Reese Martin, a detective with the DeRidder Police Department, to Jared Morton, a BPSO detective, Herford said. When told by Martin that Stephens wasn’t on the tape, Morton informed him that BPSO did not need the tapes, Herford said.
The tapes have since been destroyed.
Wallace also asked Herford if he was aware that “at least one person in the office” knew that Martin had not watched all the tapes.
“No,” Herford replied.
Herford also said he did not know Cantrell had said he had seen Stephens that night until February 2012.
Wallace also questioned Herford about why notes were destroyed after the offense report was compiled.
Herford said that notes were destroyed because of the “sheer volume,” but that “if it was relevant to the investigation it gets in the offense report.”
Herford said he and fellow detective Janet Beebe used a good cop-bad cop routine while interviewing Weldon. Herford said he showed Weldon pictures of Stephens’ body and told him that he had murdered her without offering a theory of how he did it.
Herford testifed that Weldon was at Byrd Hospital in Leesville from Aug. 24, 2009 until Sept. 1 or 2. Wallace asked him if Weldon’s stay was to detox from cocaine and Herford said the hospital would not give that information. Weldon was arrested on Aug. 3, 2009, Herford said.
Herford said that officers seized the Weldon’s red blazer because blood was found on it.
Under questioning from prosecutor Richard Blankenship, Herford said he was able to rule out the last person that Stephens’ phone received a text from on the night that she is believed to have died because both he and his commanding officer testified he was in Hawaii at the time.
Weldon’s son said in his interview with Beebe that he was picked up by his father on Friday, Aug. 21, 2009, and driven home by him on Sunday, Aug. 23. He said that Stephens, as well as his infant brother, were in the red blazer with he and his dad on the ride home Sunday. The youngster said it was the first time he had met Stephens, whom he described as “pretty.”
He said he was driven home just before dark.
As to what Weldon and Stephens’ conversation was that evening, he said he didn’t know because he wasn’t paying attention. “I was sitting there like I never existed,” he said.
Posted By: Maxie Moore email@example.com On: 11/26/2012
Title: Feb. 13, 2004 double murder
It always amazes me how much publicity one murder gets in your paper when I solved a double murder from the above date, supplied Herford with proof of who did it and because I am an exfelon, he and the US Attorney's Office refused to prosecute the case.