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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wife, girlfriend tell different stories about beating death over video game

BY RON SYLVESTER
The Wichita Eagle

Amy Davey said she lived in fear of her common law husband, Christopher Redgate, and his younger brother, Benjamin.

"They were very violent," Davey told a jury Wednesday morning in the second-degree murder trial of Benjamin Redgate.

Davey said when Benjamin told her to lie to police about how Luke German ended up unconscious and not breathing on their front yard last July, she followed orders.

"I didn't know what they would do," Davey, 23, testified. "I had two kids in the house. I had to make sure they were safe."

Davey dutifully told police that German left to go to the liquor store and turned up on their lawn about an hour later. She changed that two days later. But even as she testified today, Davey told a different story than the live-in girlfriend of Benjamin Redgate had given jurors in testimony which began Tuesday afternoon and ended today.

In Erika Courson's testimony, Chris Redgate was the primary attacker in the fight with German, who died in the hospital two days later. In Davey's testimony, Ben Redgate was swinging a metal rod, that he called his "Dizzle stick" at German's head.

Jurors will have to sort out the testimony, after a prosecutor showed Courson may have misled people about her relationship with Ben Redgate and Davey admitted she was still on probation for a conviction of providing false information in an unrelated case.

Davey said she and Chris Redgate had been living with their two toddlers, ages 2 and 1, at her mother's house until a few weeks before he was arrested and charged with murder. Davey said she'd gotten into an argument with her mother and they'd moved in with Ben Redgate and Courson in their two bedroom duplex in the 3900 block of E. Roseberry, near Pawnee and George Washington Blvd.

"We gave them half of our food stamps and Ben paid the bills, because he had a job," Davey said. Ben worked at a restaurant in south Wichita.

Chris Redgate, 26, and Ben Redgate, 22, would also donate plasma for money twice a week.

On Oct. 18, German, a friend of the two brothers, showed up. Davey said it wasn't clear why he needed a place to stay. "He was just trying to lay low," she said.

German brought beer and K2, a synthetic form of a drug similar to marijuana, Davey said.

"We didn't have money for any of that," Davey testified.

Davey did say they had a PlayStation video game console and two televisions. Chris and Ben Redgate often played "Madden NFL 10." Chris Redgate liked to be the Denver Broncos; Ben Redgate favored the Kansas City Chiefs. Ben wasn't very good.

When German arrived, he brought his own PlayStation and hooked it up to the television in the living room. While playing the NFL game, Davey said, Chris Redgate changed the settings to make it easier for his brother to play. That angered German, who accused them of cheating, after he lost. German was pretty intoxicated, she said. German and Chris Redgate shoved each other. Chris Redgate put German into a headlock.

Until then, that matched what Courson had told the jury.

Here's what Davey saw:

German and Chris Redgate broke up the scuffle. German went outside and made a phone call on Courson's phone. When he came back inside, German was still angry. Ben Redgate stood at the kitchen, holding a metal pipe he had inscribed with the word "Dizzle" in permanent marker. "Dizzle" was Ben Redgate's nickname. It has become known in the trial as the "Dizzle stick."

Davey stepped out the door to smoke a cigarette.

"It was getting too heated in there," Davey said.

When she returned, no one was in the living room. The argument had moved to Ben Redgate and Courson's bedroom. Davey said she walked to the bedroom door and stood behind Courson.

"Two seconds later, Ben comes running out of the bathroom with the metal pipe and goes after Luke," Davey said.

Davey couldn't see everything through the narrow door of the bedroom, but she said she could see German on the floor holding his head in a defensive position. She could see Benjamin Redgate swing the stick.

"I heard it hit something," Davey said. "I was pretty sure it was Luke."

"I was freaking out," she said. She pleaded the men to stop.

Davey remembered Ben Redgate immediately telling the rest to say German left to go to the liquor store. They didn't know what happened. That's the story Davey said they were supposed to tell police.

Zachary Bell and his girlfriend, Ynette Hiebert didn't believe that story from the first time they heard it.

"It didn't make sense that someone would drop him off," Bell told police.

Hiebert said Ben Redgate had sent a text message to the phone she and Bell shared earlier saying: "Dude is tripping and he's about to get beat." She also told that to police.

Then at 11:46 p.m., call logs showed, Ben Redgate called Hiebert and Bell. Hibert testified Redgate told them they needed to come over, but he couldn't tell them why over the phone. That call to Hiebert and Bell came in 6 minutes before anyone called 911 at 11:52 p.m. to report that German needed help. He was still alive. He would die two days later.

Davey said she wasn't surprised when the police showed up again two days later. When she went back to police headquarters, she told a different story.

"I told police almost the whole truth," she testified. "I left out the Chris part."

She was still scared of Chris Redgate. She thought the police would turn them loose again.

"I didn't know what he might do," she said.

Defense lawyer Brad Sylvester questioned her about police threats to send her to jail and her desire to protect her father's children.

"He's no longer part of my life," Davey said. "Neither one of them are good for my children."

She now says Chris Redgate was kicking German while Ben swung the Dizzle stick.

Chris Redgate was arrested and booked on second-degree murder. He later pleaded guilty.

Ben Redgate couldn't be found that day.

Courson swore Ben Redgate just tried to break up the fight between German and Chris Redgate. She also repeatedly referred to herself as his "ex-girlfriend."

But prosecutor C.J. Rieg questioned Davey about entries she made on her public Facebook page online, vowing her love for Ben Redgate and how much she missed him. She posted the last such update on Sunday, the day before the trial began.

"And what did you post last night?" Rieg asked.

"The DA is a b---," Courson said Wednesday.

"No further questions," Rieg said.

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