Prosecutor: Suspect had sex with cousin after killing wife

Kimberly Dejohn was bound, gagged and strangled. She had four separate blunt force injuries to her skull and two blunt force blows to her back. She was stabbed in the abdomen and thigh and had 10 separate defensive stab wounds, including one on the top of her foot.

After her brutalized body was covered with a blanket and stashed in an upstairs closet in her Warren home two years ago, Dejohn's husband — who is accused of killing her — twice had sex on the first floor with his girlfriend, who also is his first cousin, Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor William Cataldo told a jury today.

Cataldo said Dejohn's body stayed in the closet for two days. When Loyd Dejohn's girlfriend complained of an odor in the house, like rotten eggs or dead meat, he moved his wife's body to his truck and covered it with two-thirds of a load of dirt from the side of the house. His girlfriend moved in the next day and she and her mother, Cataldo said, were paid to clean the house as repairs were made, such as fresh paint, and a ceiling fan and vent were replaced.

Cataldo told jurors that Kimberly Dejohn's body stayed in the truck for about two weeks while her husband "drove around Warren and (to) work with a dead wife in his vehicle." He later drove to northern lower Michigan and buried her body in a grave about 4 feet deep. Her partially decomposed body was found in June 2014.

Cataldo told jurors during his opening statement that Loyd Dejohn didn't call police or 911 or render assistance. He said Dejohn made statements to others, including a retail store clerk — a stranger — about his affairs and how he was going to kill his wife or have someone murder her months before her death. He said Dejohn's actions before, during and after the slaying are "done to someone you don't want anymore."

Dejohn, 48, is facing first-degree murder and disinterment and mutilation of a dead body in the ligature strangulation of his 51-year-old wife at their home in May 2014. Kimberly Dejohn was reported missing by a relative May 28, 2014, about 14 days after the prosecution said she was slain.

Her body was found June 18, 2014, in the shallow grave on an abandoned property in Cheboygan County, rolled up in plastic and carpet believed to be removed from the Dejohns' home. Authorities previously said they found the grave and the body after a tip from an inmate at the Macomb County Jail.

Testimony and pictures shown to jurors in Circuit Court indicate Kimberly Dejohn's body was found with electrical and yellow cords, plastic and blue tarp around it. Carpet, a home heating vent cover, a ceiling fan motor and fan blades also were found in the shallow grave.

Her legs and hands were bound and a plastic shopping bag was found stuffed in her mouth. A pair of work gloves was found in an area to the east of the grave, according to testimony.

Cataldo told jurors that there was an amount of time before Kimberly Dejohn was strangled that she was unconscious.

He said the motive is as old as time — "sex with another woman. It's not the first time he cheated on his wife. It's the first time he cheated with someone worthy of killing Kim."

"This was planned," Cataldo said, adding that the couple had a rocky relationship the last six years of their approximately 12-year marriage. "This was an act waiting for an opportunity."

But Dejohn's attorney, Mark Nortley, disagreed, saying the motive is nonexistent. He said Dejohn was near-indigent, made $10 an hour, had a yard full of junk cars and $1,500 in the bank. There was no life insurance policy.

"Why would you commit a homicide? Why would you do that? There's absolutely no motive at all," Nortley told jurors. "Clearly, clearly, clearly, there was no motive. There was no plan."

Nortley called his client "a strange bird," adding that Loyd Dejohn is in a hearse club and had a hearse in the backyard with a coffin.

"His sense of humor is probably not consistent with ours," Nortley said.

He said the couple had a "knockdown, drag-out" fight "in the heat of passion," reiterating for the jury that his client had no plan, no motive.

"My client is bizarre, to say the least," Nortley said. "Why he said some of the things he did. After she died, he panicked."

Kim Dejohn's daughter, Jennifer Outman, was the first of 14 prosecution witnesses and two defense witnesses set to testify in the trial, which is expected to last a week and a half.

Wiping her eye with a tissue, Outman testified about the last time she talked with her mother the night before she was slain and how Loyd Dejohn called her a couple of days later, telling her the couple had been in a fight, the police were called and an ambulance took her mother to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

Something similar had happened a year or two earlier, Outman testified. But she became concerned when she didn't hear from her mother, couldn't find her at any hospitals she called and police told her they hadn't been sent to the house.

"I instantly knew something was wrong," Outman testified, adding that she talked on the phone with her mother a couple times a week and knew the last two years of the Dejohns' marriage were rough and argumentative.

Outman testified that she continued to call family and hospitals for days, eventually asking relatives to drive by the house and file a missing persons report since she lived several hours away in Michigan.

Outman testified that she had several more calls from Loyd Dejohn, who said he had packed up his wife's belongings and asked Outman to pick them up.

Outman testified that she was concerned about why she had to get her mother's belongings, "why she did not call me to get her stuff?"

(2016 © Detroit Free Press)


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