By Jon Schroeder
Killeen Daily Herald
GATESVILLE — Testimony finishedtoday in the trial of Stephen Dean Hogankamp, 24, charged with capital murder in a case involving the Oct. 2006 death of Kenneth Smith, 71, a registered sex offender.
After the final witness for the prosecution, defense attorney Sandy Gately, opted not to give an opening statement (she’d deferred her statement Tuesday until after the prosecution rested) or to call any witnesses.
Hogankamp’s mother Katrina Moore, of Copperas Cove, was barred from entry during testimony as a potential witness.
After she left the courtroom, Moore spoke with reporters about her son, saying that she was upset Gately had not called any witnesses — Moore said several people who know Hogankamp well were ready to testify on his behalf, herself included.
Moore said that because no testimony has been heard in her son’s favor, the jury will not get a complete picture of Hogankamp before they begin deliberations tomorrow.
According to letters from Hogankamp to his mother published earlier this year which Moore confirmed to be authentic, Hogankamp admitted to the crime, but said the act occurred before he knew what had happened.
Hogankamp’s former fiance testified briefly for the prosecution, confirming that she and two others who also testified had picked up a “dirty” Hogankamp from Copperas Cove the night of the fire, his hand bloody and split to the bone.
Hogankamp did not testify in the case, but a video of him confessing to investigators was viewed this morning by jurors. In the video, he admitted to striking Smith in the head, then lighting the 71-year-old’s house on fire after the two had engaged in a sexual act.
Read more in tomorrow's Killeen Daily Herald