Attempted-murder trial begins
Prosecutors detailed a disturbing scene, and the defense questioned the truthfulness of the alleged victim Tuesday in El Dorado Superior Court as the trial began for a Meyers man charged with attempted murder.
Konolus Smith is accused of trying to kill his wife, Pamela Smith, with an overdose of pills in August.
In his opening statement, Deputy District Attorney Peter O’Hara contended that Smith confronted his wife of 15 years about a relationship with another man after looking at her cell-phone records Aug. 28.
While the confrontation eventually cooled down, a much darker scene would unfold at the Smiths’ home in the early-morning hours of Aug. 29, according to the prosecution.
Pamela Smith woke up to the sound of her husband rifling through bathroom drawers, not knowing she soon would find herself fearing for her life at the points of a pair of scissors, O’Hara said.
Konolus Smith allegedly forced his wife to drink water and take Tylenol PM pills and prescription medication by holding the scissors to her eyes and threatening to stab her once “for each pill she didn’t swallow,” O’Hara said.
At one point during his opening statement, the prosecutor got down on his knees in front of the seven male and five female jurors to show how Pamela Smith’s feet and arms were allegedly bound with a bathrobe belt as she was moved between rooms and continually forced to take the pills.
Pamela Smith eventually lost consciousness from the attack, O’Hara said.
The last thing she remembers is a shadowy figure saying, “You ain’t going nowhere, (expletive),” according to O’Hara.
Her husband took her to Barton Memorial Hospital in South Lake Tahoe at about 8:30 a.m., where her stomach was pumped and she regained consciousness.
After awaking confused, some of Pamela Smith’s first words to a nurse caring for her were, “He forced me,” O’Hara said.
Defense attorney Jordan Morgenstern kept his opening statement brief, telling the jury his client is innocent and asking them to listen to all the evidence before making a decision.
“What attorneys tell you is not evidence,” Morgenstern said.
At about 8:30 a.m. Aug. 29, Konolus Smith found his wife unconscious from an apparent suicide attempt and took her to the hospital, according to Morgenstern.
“If he was going to kill his wife, why would he use Tylenol?” the defense attorney asked the jury.
Also during his opening statement, Morgenstern cast doubts on the truthfulness of Pamela Smith’s statements, saying she has made “three or four or five” different statements about the alleged incident.
“The evidence will show Mrs. Smith is a liar,” Morgenstern said. “This case is one big falsehood.”
Although the testimony of both Smiths likely will be critical to the trial’s outcome, O’Hara also hinted at the importance of a recorded phone call between Pamela Smith and her husband after she awoke at Barton.
O’Hara said the recording will show a man whose words are inconsistent with someone who discovered his wife attempting suicide, but he said Konolus Smith’s statements are “some steps short of a complete confession.”
In addition to a charge of attempted murder, Konolus Smith faces charges of false imprisonment, spousal battery and making criminal threats stemming from the alleged incident.
The trial resumes today and is expected to last until early next week.