Defendant’s wife testifies in Tahoe attempted-murder trial |

Defendant’s wife testifies in Tahoe attempted-murder trial

Adam Jensen
Nevada Appeal News Service

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Taking the stand in El Dorado County Superior Court on Thursday, Pamela Smith said her marriage to Konolus Smith was “not the best of relationships” and was headed toward divorce. But she said it was one that was not particularly violent.

That is, until the early morning hours of Aug. 29, when she says her husband got on top of her in the bedroom of their Meyers, Calif., home and threatened to stab her with a pair of scissors if she didn’t swallow large quantities of pills in an attempt to kill her.

“I was begging for my life,” Pamela Smith told the court, avoiding eye contact with her husband, while sitting in the witness box.

Konolus Smith faces charges of attempted murder, false imprisonment, spousal battery and making criminal threats stemming from the alleged incident. A jury of five women and seven men has been convened to decide the case in the trial that began Wednesday.

Under questioning from Deputy District Attorney Peter O’Hara, Pamela Smith detailed the alleged attack, including her claims of how her ankles and wrists were bound with her husband’s terrycloth bathrobe as she was forced to take pills in various rooms of the house.

Smith also said during the attack her husband threatened to strangle her with a scarf and kill her grown son from a previous marriage.

During cross-examination, defense attorney Jordan Morgenstern asked Smith, who is a traveling nurse, about how she told her husband she was involved in an affair with a co-worker.

Smith testified that she didn’t tell her husband about the relationship until the day before the alleged attack, when Konolus Smith was upset about a cell-phone bill listing multiple calls to the other man.

Morgenstern asked if she had lied to her husband about the relationship, to which Smith eventually replied, “Yes.”

The defense has contended since its opening statement that Smith is lying about the alleged attack.

As the cross-examination continued, much of Morgenstern’s line of questioning focused on drawing distinctions between what appears on statements to sheriff’s deputies, comments attributed to her from Barton Memorial Hospital’s medical records and what Smith has said in court.

The defense is expected to continue its cross-examination of Pamela Smith when the trial resumes Tuesday.

One of the items Morgenstern highlighted was a statement attributed to Smith in intensive-care unit records.

The entry said she recalled being kicked and slapped as soon as she awoke on the morning of Aug. 29.

“I don’t recall saying that,” Smith said Thursday.

Under questioning from O’Hara, Smith said she awoke on the morning of Aug. 29 to the sounds of her husband in the kitchen.

Morgenstern’s cross-examination began late in the day, and after questioning had begun Judge James Dawson abruptly called both attorneys to the bench, talked with them briefly, and then called a recess.