Inside the Levi King Courtroom: Day Five

Day five of Levi King's punishment phase began with Donald Ruby taking the stand. Mr. Ruby was a McDonald County, Missouri Sheriff's Department Employee when King was being held there and charged for two murders in McDonald County. Ruby said King asked several times to speak with him and he finally got the time, a few days after King made his first request. On October 18, 2005 he and King went out to the exercise yard at the jail. They made small talk, he said, as King smoked several cigarettes. King then said something to Ruby about his heightened sense of smell and how he remembers the scent of gunpowder, blood and sweat. He then says to Ruby, very non-nonchalantly, as Ruby testified, that there are four more near Groom - a man, a woman and two kids. (Just to note: Only three of those people were actually killed on September 30th. King thought that Robin Doan was dead as well, but she survived the attacks.) Ruby said he then led King back to his cell and called the Carson County Sheriff's Office. They told him to call Gray County. He did call Gray County murders and the investigation ballooned from there.

The next person to take the stand was a convenience store owner in Groom, Texas. He owned at Texaco Stop 'n Shop in 2005. His video security cameras captured King at the store, filling up the truck with gas not long after he murdered the Conrad/Doan family in Pampa.

King was housed in the Hemphill County jail while awaiting his move to Lubbock for this trial. The Hemphill County Sheriff also took the stand today to speak about King's time in his facility. He said King was placed in a maximum security area and remained there for just under one year. He said there were no major problems to speak of while in his custody, but he did recall several outbursts of anger, including once at a Sonic on their way back from Gray County. He said the employee told King the chocolate malt machine was broken and says King became extremely angry and starting swearing and yelling. He said he thanked King for following the rules while in his custody and King said something to the effect of 'well, nobody pushed my buttons.' The sheriff said King was not a perfect inmate, but then again, he says, there is no such thing as a perfect inmate. When asked by the defense, he said that other inmates did cause more trouble than King, but he did not really give King an opportunity to cause any sort of trouble.

Several others took the stand today, including a few who had personal interactions with Levi King over the past few years. One man said King stole several items from his home. Another said he loaned King money for a car, and when King did not pay back the full amount as promised he had the car re-possessed. He said King then threatened to kill his dogs, and burn down his house and everyone in it. Another man testified that King burned down his Pineville, Missouri home on January 8, 2003. King was found guilty of arson and did spend time in jail for that offense.

Prior to being sentenced for that arson offense, King underwent a pre-sentencing investigation. A Missouri parole officer conducted the investigation. She testified that King told her his drug of choice was marijuana and that he started smoking it when he was ten. She says he also told her he started drinking whiskey at age 11. She says he also admitted to using meth a few times and being admitted to the hospital for multiple mental illnesses, including bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. She said it was her impression that King was not taking responsibility for his actions and that she believes making excuses for your actions based on how you grew up is not justification for bad behavior.

Another McDonald County Sheriff's Department employee took the stand today, saying how he had to spray mase at King once because he caught him holding another inmate in a headlock, repeatedly punching him in the face.