Witnesses testify against accused killer of UNR professor
RENO ” The man accused of killing University of Nevada, Reno professor Judy Calder expressed concern in the days after she disappeared that police might find blood in his van and think it was hers, a witness testified today.
A second prosecution witness also said at a preliminary hearing that Mohamed Kamaludeen, accused of stabbing Calder to death last summer, didn’t like the woman and once approached him about the possibility of killing her.
The testimony came in Reno Justice Court, where Judge Jack Schroeder was expected to decide later in the day whether there was enough evidence to order Kamaludeen ” also known as Rickey Barge ” to stand trial in Washoe County District Court on a charge of open murder.
Police allege Kamaludeen, 50, stabbed Calder a minimum of four times at his Reno business on Aug. 18 because he didn’t want to repay a $150,000 debt he owed her.
Prosecutors also have filed an amended criminal complaint that alleges that if he didn’t kill her himself, he could have paid someone else to commit the crime.
After a 10-day search, Calder’s decomposing body was found on Aug. 28 in high-desert sagebrush off U.S. Highway 93 about 40 miles north of Wells, about 375 miles northeast of Reno.
A client of Kamaludeen’s said they talked about Calder’s disappearance when he came to pick up a printer on Aug. 21 at his business, Imaging Technologies.
“There were a lot of crazy things going on right then. He mentioned he was afraid they might find blood in his van and think it was Judy’s,” Darrol Taylor testified.
A former employee of Kamaludeen’s, Ray Patterson, 40, said Kamaludeen routinely “expressed how much he didn’t like” Calder, partly because he said she was “an activist against the civil rights movement.”
In September 2006, Patterson said Kamaludeen told him “he was sick of her and he wanted to get rid of her … she was a pain in his side.”
“He mentioned something about he had to make a payment to her and didn’t want to pay her,” he said.
Patterson said he thought at first Kamaludeen was “just venting.” But then “he asked me if I had killed anyone or murdered anyone before,” he said.
“He asked me if I thought I’d be able to do something like that – to Judy. I said, `No. It’s not in my heart to do something like that,” Patterson said, and the issue never came up again.
Under cross-examination from public defender Maizie Pusich, Patterson said he never warned Calder or her husband or police about Kamaludeen’s statement at the time. He also acknowledged that he didn’t pass that information to police after he learned of Calder’s death last September.
Dr. Katherine Raven, a forensic pathologist for the Washoe County Medical Examiner’s Office, testified that Calder was stabbed at least four times. One stab wound severed her aorta and another broke through a rib.
Kamaludeen mostly stared straight ahead during the testimony with little emotion and occasionally took notes with a left hand the bailiffs agreed to let free from his handcuffs and shackles.
Calder, 64, was known for her work on family and domestic violence. She worked with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services and conducted research for 15 years in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
Her husband, Jim, reported her missing Aug. 19, saying he had last talked to her by phone the day before and that he was worried because she appeared to have left behind her diabetes medication at a Sparks hotel-casino where she had spent the night of Aug. 17.
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