Pettey murder trial: Rebecca Kirk testifies Pettey admitted to killing fiancee

Rebecca Kirk, right, walks from the Marion County Courthouse in this 2010 file photo. (H-W File Photo/Michael Kipley)
Posted: Jun. 19, 2012 1:18 pm Updated: Nov. 29, 2014 12:18 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

MEXICO, Mo. — A woman who admitted to having an affair with accused murderer Calvin Duane Pettey said during riveting testimony Tuesday morning that Pettey told her he killed his fiancée, Sandra Fugate.

Rebecca Kirk, now of Hannibal, said she was driving back from Columbia, Mo., with Pettey on April 15, 2010, when Pettey asked her what she would think if he went " to the extreme" to be with her, then said he killed Fugate that morning.

The second day of Pettey's murder trial at the Audrain County Courthouse was highlighted by Kirk's testimony. She admitted to being in on plans to kill Fugate, but said she couldn't go through with them.

Kirk said she and Pettey began a sexual relationship in February 2010, many years after they knew each other in high school. Pettey told her he was going to marry Fugate on April 17, 2010, and "he was trying to find a way out of getting married," she said.

"He said he loved me, and I said there were only two ways out of this — either lose me or lose her," she said.

If he went through with the marriage to Fugate, Kirk said she would no longer see him. At some point, they went to Kirk's estranged husband's house and Pettey took a 22-caliber rifle belonging to her husband, Kirk said.

The first plan was to have Pettey shoot Fugate in her Hannibal home, then have Kirk shoot Pettey in the leg and stomach, and take items from the house to make it look like a robbery. Kirk said she and Pettey even went into Fugate's house and Kirk held the rifle, but Kirk said she did not want to participate in the plan and couldn't shoot Pettey.

"I told him to go marry her because I couldn't do this," Kirk said while sobbing on the witness stand. "It was best we don't see each other any more … but then he showed up at my door the next morning."

About a week before Fugate was murdered, Kirk and Pettey went to Hannibal to "carry out his plan," but Pettey flagged down Kirk n a restaurant parking lot and told her it was off because Fugate wasn't home, Kirk said.

On Thursday, April 15, Pettey picked Kirk up at 8:39 a.m. in Frankford, where she was then living, and they drove to Columbia for Pettey's doctor's appointment. Pettey was quiet on the drive there, but on the way back he admitted to killing Fugate.

"I never dreamed in a million years he would do it," Kirk said.

Kirk said Pettey asked her to burn clothing in a black garbage bag and throw the rifle and bullets into rivers, which she did. Ashes and the items were later recovered by investigators.

The day after Fugate was found dead, Kirk said she got a text from Pettey asking if "I took care of things," meaning the disposal of the evidence.

A friend of Kirk's, Michelle Hinch, testified Tuesday that Kirk told her about Pettey's admission and the affair, and that Hinch urged Kirk to take the evidence to the police instead of burning it. When Hinch saw on the news that night that Fugate was dead, she went to the Hannibal Police Department, starting the investigation.

Marion County Prosecutor Tom Redington ended his initial questioning of Kirk by asking if she killed Fugate.

"No, I did not," was Kirk's firm reply.

Under cross examination by defense attorney Todd Schulze, Kirk admitted she made plans with Pettey to participate in the killing of Fugate, and never warned Fugate or police. She also admitted lying about several other things in the days leading up to the murder.

At one point, Schulze raised his voice and said, "You killed Sandy Fugate, didn't you?"

Again, Kirk's immediate reply was, "No!"

Kirk said she did not know why she destroyed evidence or did not go to the police. The day after the murder, investigators called her and interviewed her.

"I was very stupid," she said between sobs. "I believed he loved me, and I never thought he would do it."

Schulze also got Kirk to say Pettey did not want to marry Fugate because Fugate's friends would get him fired from his job at General Mills, file sexual harassment claims against him and keep him from having health insurance for his son.

Kirk denied she wanted Fugate dead.

The trial is expected to last at least through Wednesday.


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