Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

February 10, 2014

Testimony points to murder defendant

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — Testimony from a handful of witnesses point to an Elmore City area man accused of causing the injuries that resulted in his girlfriend’s death last summer.

The preliminary hearing for Brandon Shane Christian, 30, came on Thursday as witnesses ranging from medical personnel to law enforcement took the stand in a Pauls Valley courtroom.

Christian is facing a second-degree murder charge in connection to last year’s death of Desiree Hill.

It was originally an assault charge before it went to murder after Hill died on July 27, 2013.

One witness is a former employee in the Garvin County jail, who said it was Christian who he believes confessed to causing Hill’s death just days after he was formally charged.

Working at the time as a jailer, Anthony King said the confession came as he escorted Christian to a video arraignment on July 9.

“I was on the way to taking him back,” King said. “That’s when he looked at me. He had tears in his eyes.

“He said, ‘I did this,’ while pointing at the charge,” he said, referring to the court-filed document showing the formal murder accusation Christian was facing.

In his duties as a jailer King said this kind of comment from an inmate was highly unusual.

“Usually they said they didn’t do this or this is BS, something like that,” he said. “His eyes were tearing up.

“To me he seemed to be admitting he did it. For me it wasn’t like a question.”

The statement was questioned by defense attorney Dee Graves, who stressed King had no way of knowing what Christian actually meant when he said those words.

A couple of physicians from Duncan testified they treated Hill just two or three weeks before her death.

According to Dr. Haroll Proctor and Dr. Glen Cottrill, the woman claimed her broken nose and injuries to her side and back, all sustained less than a month earlier, were caused by Christian.

“She said she had received these injuries from her boyfriend, who had beaten her and kicked her,” Proctor said about Hill’s visit to Duncan Medical Associates on June 6, 2013.

Proctor testified the woman did have two fractured ribs.

While treating Hill for her broken nose Cottrill said the woman claimed her boyfriend had caused the injuries on May 18.

“She said she was prevented from seeking treatment by her boyfriend,” Cottrill said when asked why Hill had delayed medical attention for the injuries.

Testimony also came from medical personnel who were on duty when Hill was brought to Pauls Valley General Hospital on June 24.

Andrew Cain, working as a registration clerk, said Christian claimed Hill was nonresponsive because of a drug overdose.

“He said she was overdosed on morphine,” Cain said.

“He said she had been with some bikers and they had given her 10 morphines a day.”

Prosecutors, which included District Attorney Greg Mashburn and Corey Miner, an assistant district attorney in Garvin County, were quick to point out a medical report showed Hill had no morphine in her system.

That same report compiled by the state examiner’s office after an autopsy on Hill also still lists the official cause of the woman’s death as “unknown.”

Also taking the stand were Pauls Valley nurses, who described seeing multiple injuries on the woman’s body.

Among the law enforcement officials testifying was Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes, who read from a journal entry by Hill showing she was afraid for her life in the days leading up to her death.

"‘I get this feeling that if I don’t get away from him he’ll beat me to death,’” Rhodes said as he read Hill’s words from the witness stand.

“‘I feel he will kill me.’”

The sheriff, who saw Hill when she was taken to the local hospital, described the woman’s injuries as consistent with abuse.

“Based on my experience I do believe the injuries I observed were consistent with Ms. Hill being assaulted.”