GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — On day three of the trial for the man accused of murdering a Kentwood couple, prosecution established a pattern of behavior for Javonte Higgins and laid out a timeline of the night David and Vivian Bouwman were killed.
David Bouwman, 81, and his 80-year-old wife Vivian were found shot to death in their home on Jan. 5, 2013. Authorities allege Higgins killed them after breaking into their home with the intention of robbing it. He allegedly took their Cadillac following the murders, drove it to a Wyoming apartment complex and set it on fire.
Inside woodtv.com: Photos of Higgins’ murder trial
Witnesses who saw Higgins around the time of the murders took the stand Wednesday. Camari Boyd testified Higgins showed up at his house around 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. on Jan. 5, saying he needed help to get rid of the Bouwmans’ Cadillac and that some people had been shot.
But his testimony about what Higgins did or did not say in relation to the murders was murky. Defense questioned whether Higgins said specified that he had shot two people.
Testimony about what prosecutors believe was the sound of the gunshots implies that the shooting happened just before 3 a.m.
The prosecution says the timing of Higgins’ visit to Boyd tells them that Higgins is the killer. They say at the time Higgins went to Boyd’s house, no one else but the killer would have known the Bouwmans were dead.
The witnesses who helped authorities build that timeline are key because there is no DNA that puts Higgins at the scene of the murders, which Higgins’ defense attorney Valerie Foster has seemed to want to drive home for the jury.
Lacie Martin testified that she dropped Higgins off near the Bouwmans’ home just before the murders.
A friend of Higgins, she said she had known him to be a fun, good person. But she also testified to strange behavior from Higgins before the murders, discussing a time when Higgins asked her for a ride to a local business and covered his face in apparent preparation to rob it. They ended up leaving before a robbery took place.
The day started with jurors hearing testimony focusing on allegations made against Higgins in the months and years before David and Vivian Bouwman were killed. Witness after witness took the stand to say Higgins had broken into their homes before the murders – some of which still have cases that are pending.
Defense attorney Foster said she objected to the testimony being allowed, but the judge overruled that objection, saying it showed a pattern of how Higgins operated that might be beneficial in linking him to the Bouwman murders.
Witness Katherine Ksiazkiewicz-Rambus testified she was home when the man police suspect was Higgins broke into her house in 2007.
“I immediately called 911 and they told me, ‘Go in to your… close the door to your bedroom, go into your master bath,’” Ksiazkiewicz-Rambus recalled. “While I was doing that, a couple other windows were crashing, and I waited on the phone with a 911 operator – terrified – until the police came to the front of my house.”
Testimony was also heard about a vehicle crash in which Higgins was involved shortly before the murders. In that incident, Higgins was eluding police and traveling at a high rate of speed before crashing. The truck involved in the crash was stolen during an alleged home invasion in Wyoming.
Higgins was seriously injured in the wreck, yet was able to elude authorities after a doctor testified Higgins was discharged from the hospital before he could be arrested.
The Bouwmans were murdered a few weeks later.
Before breaking for lunch, a witness testified about evidence in the case and the testing for flammable material related to the burning of the Bouwmans’ car.
At some point before closing statements are heard, Higgins’ mother is expected to testify.
Foster said a decision about whether Higgins will take the stand in his own defense has not been finalized.
24 Hour News 8’s Leon Hendrix will continue to cover the case. Follow him on Twitter for up-to-the-minute details on the trial.Tweets by @LeonHendrix