August 9, 2005 – Posted at 7:16 p.m. CDT
LAKE CITY, AR -- Testimony continues Tuesday in the trial of a Lepanto woman accused of killing a Caraway man. 43-year-old Judy Flanagan is on trial for the June 12, 2004 capital murder of 51-year-old Dennis Coats.
In Monday’s court testimony, a tape was played of Flanagan’s alleged confession. She claimed that Beverly Coats, Dennis’ wife, had instructed her to “cut the goat’s throat” and that she later helped Beverly Coats move a body covered in a blue tarp.
The state recalled witnesses on Tuesday to present evidence in the trial against Flanagan. It was suggested by the defense that Flanagan had been drugged the night Coats was murdered.
The Coats’ family and friends don’t believe it.
“He was a great person who would have helped anyone. I still can’t believe all this has happened,” said friend and former co-worker Danny Warren, “I can’t imagine anybody not liking him.”
Investigator Jared Bassham of the Craighead County Sheriff’s Department testified about two knives Flanagan had led them to find near a bridge where Coats’ body was found. They were introduced into evidence, and the jury had a chance to see them.
The state also called forensic pathologist Dr. Frank Perretti who testified that Coats died of multiple stab wounds and internal bleeding. Coats’ body had six stab wounds to the heart, penetrating the left ventricle and more than a dozen stab wounds to the left side of the chest. No defense wounds were found on the body; however, a cut to his wrist nearly severed Coats' left hand. Dr. Perretti also testified that he believed the knives in evidence could not have cut three ribs on Dennis Coats, and there could be a third murder weapon.
Friends and family agree that the trial is an emotional strain, but they say it’s the just the beginning of the healing process.