Police: Jessika Kalaher never met Crispin Harmel on sex website


3:15 p.m. update: Police continued to find many discrepancies in Crispin Harmel’s version of what happened with Jessika Kalaher when he met her the day she was strangled, according to a videotape of an interview that was shown in court Thursday.

Harmel said he met Kalaher on a sex website before they agreed to meet at a Cedar Park Walmart on Sept. 7, 2009. But police found no evidence on Kalaher’s phone or computer that she had ever been on a sex website or even communicated with Harmel, investigators said during their interview with him in October 2009.

Harmel disagreed during the interview. “That where I met her,” he said.

Harmel also had told police that Kalaher drove him back in her car to a shopping center and dropped him off after they had consensual sex at a park. Cedar Park police Detective Larry Bond disagreed, saying that when Kalaher’s body was later found in her car, her feet couldn’t reach the pedals, according to the interview.

“She couldn’t have driven the damn car,” Bond yelled at Harmel in the interview.

Harmel also had said he told Kalaher he would return her debit card the next day to the H-E-B. where she had told him she worked in Cedar Park. He said he drove to the parking lot but could not find her car so he left.

Police said during the interview that Kalaher never worked at that store and a video of the store’s parking lot never showed Harmel there on the day he said he was driving up and down the rows of cars looking for her vehicle.

1:30 p.m. update: During a second police interview with Crispin Harmel conducted a few weeks after Jessika Kalaher was killed, detectives continued to challenge his version of what happened when he met Kalaher. A videotape of the interview on Oct. 1, 2009, was shown to the jury Thursday.

Cedar Park police Detective Larry Bond told Harmel during the interview that Harmel said he had purchased a drink and condoms at a convenience store before meeting Kalaher, but that there was no receipt from the store showing Harmel had been there. Harmel said he had the receipt somewhere.

Bond also questioned Harmel, saying Harmel had previously told police that he and Kalaher had agreed to meet at the Walmart at midnight on Sept. 7, 2009, but that Harmel didn’t arrive until 1:39 a.m. Harmel responded by saying, “I can’t tell you the exact time.”

If Harmel and Kalaher had agreeed to meet up, the detective asked, why does she never seem to be looking for him in the store surveillance video.

“Are you saying I wasn’t supposed to meet her there?,” Harmel asked.

The videotape from Walmart shows Harmel walking out of a bathroom and following her to her car but doesn’t show any communication between them.

Police also asked Harmel what happened in the 15 minutes after he said he got into Kalaher’s car with her and drove to a nearby ATM. Detectives said the ATM was a short distance away and that it didn’t take 15 minutes to get there.

Harmel did not provide an explanation during the interview. “We drove straight there,” he said.

A prosecutor said during opening statements Tuesday that Kalaher didn’t know Harmel and surprised her after she got into her car by getting into her back seat and choking her with a seat belt.

Bond also asked Harmel during the police interview in 2009 about going to the ATM with Kalaher. Harmel previously told police he drove Kalaher to the ATM where she gave him her debit card and he withdrew $20. He also said he checked her bank account at least twice at the ATM.

“How much money was in her account?,” Bond asked Harmel during the police interview.

“I can’t tell you,” Harmel said. “You checked it twice,” Bond said.

11 a.m. update: Prosecutors are showing a video of another interview that police conducted with Crispin Harmel after Jessika Kalaher was killed in 2009. Harmel said in the video that after he arrived in the park with Kalaher, he had sex with her in the front seat of her car and then they chatted and got out of the car to put on their clothes.

He said Kalaher gave him her debit card while she was driving him back to the Walmart area where they met so he could buy gas for his truck. Harmel said Kalaher had asked what he was doing the next week and he said he had a job at an RV storage place in Jonestown.

He said he gave Kalaher a hug and a kiss after she arrived at the shopping center and then he got out and left.

Cedar Park police Detective Larry Bond asked him if he saw Kalaher drive away. He said he “assumed” she drove away but didn’t know.

Harmel had told police in an earlier interview that Kalaher had driven away and flashed her headlights at him. Harmel said he spent the night in his truck and later went to the Round Rock library to search online for jobs.

Prosecutor Nancy Nemer said Wednesday that the library was closed on the day that Harmel said he went there because it was Labor Day.

In the video, Harmel said he tried to return Kalaher’s debit card to her at a grocery store where she worked the next day but couldn’t find her. He said he instant messaged her on a sexual hookup website called “Lonely Housewives” that he had met her on and he had also said she was a paid member of the website.

Police have said there was no evidence that Kalaher ever paid to be on a sexual hookup website.

Earlier:

The capital murder trial for a man accused of strangling a 27-year-old woman in Cedar Park in 2009 continues for the third day on Thursday. The trial will start at 10 a.m. , an hour later than usual. Part of the evidence will include the final portion of a three-hour interview police did with the suspect, Crispin Harmel, five days after Jessika Kalaher died.

A prosecutor has said Kalaher did not know Harmel when he followed her out of a Cedar Park Walmart, got into her car, choked her with a seat belt and forced her to withdraw $20 from an ATM with her debit card before they arrived at a park where he raped and strangled her twice.

Harmel then drove Kalaher back to a shopping center and walked back to his truck with her debit card, which he used a few minutes later to buy gas, a prosecutor has said. Kalaher died of heatstroke in her car hours later after witnesses saw her struggling, according to the prosecutor.

DAY 1: Cedar Park woman struggled for hours after being strangled, witnesses say

A medical examiner testified Wednesday and said there was no physical evidence Kalaher was sexually assaulted or had brain damage, but she did have a mark on her neck that showed she was strangled with a cloth-like material. The examiner, Dr. David Dolinak, said however that he did believe Kalaher had brain damage.

DAY 2: Medical examiner contradicts prosecutor on how murder victim died

Harmel told police during a 2009 interview played in court Wednesday that he met Kalaher on a sex website, agreed to meet up with her at the Walmart, had consensual sex with her in her car at a park and then she drove him back to the strip mall parking center.

He said Kalaher gave him her credit card because he told her he was living in his truck and she wanted to help him buy gas. He also said he tried to return Kalaher’s debit card to the grocery store where she worked the next day, but could never find her car outside.

Police have testified during the trial that there was never any evidence Kalaher paid to be a member of a sex website and that she never worked at the grocery store that Harmel said he visited to return her debit card.

RELATED: Crispin Harmel accused of strangling woman in 2009 faces trial again



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