The jury was seated Tuesday and opening arguments took place before Judge Kevin D. White Wednesday morning in Pinal County Superior Court in the first-degree murder trial of Kathryn Sinkevitch.
Sinkevitch is accused in the shooting death of 31-year-old Michael Agerter on Dec. 16, 2016. Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, was shot and killed in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately, but had an infant son together.
The 15-member jury, including alternates, is made up of eight women and seven men.
After lunch, Maricopa Police officer Andy Leach described the murder scene to the jury and explained how officers cleared the house after finding Agerter’s body in his vehicle. He said one of the neighbors had multiple activations on their Ring doorbell and recorded video between 2 and 3 p.m. that day.
The officer was emailed copies of the videos. One was recorded at 2:27 p.m. and when he was asked what it showed, Sinkevitch’s defense attorney Brett Huggins objected. Defense and prosecution attorneys went into chambers to discuss the objection away from the view of the jury.
The objection was over the prosecutor asking if the video showed a white minivan driving in front of the neighbor’s house. White overruled the objection after the behind–closed-door discussion.
The officer said he did see a white minivan on the video drive in front of the house at 2:27 p.m. Prosecutors believe Sinkevitch was driving that minivan.
The prosecution team showed photographs of the murder scene to the jury and the location of several shell casings in the garage where Agerter was murdered. The photographs also showed a digital video recorder that was installed in the house.
Huggins had no cross examination of the Maricopa Police officer for the defense.
The prosecution also called Sarah Marie Cooley, who worked with Agerter at Wells Fargo.
Cooley said she communicated via text with Agerter the morning he was murdered. She met him for lunch that day and arrived at his house at 11 a.m.
They ate and talked a while and he told her he was going to have DNA tests that afternoon to determine if the child Sinkevitch gave birth to was his child. She said he seemed frightened of taking the medical tests.
Cooley said she was supposed to meet up with him that evening and talk about the test. She also provided Sinkevitch’s name to officers at the scene of the murder as she went there when she couldn’t locate him.
The defense had no cross-examination questions for Cooley.
The next witness to take the stand was Maikayla Lyon, a neighbor. She told the jury she heard some gunshots the day of the murder.
“I heard three loud bang, bang, bangs,” she said.
After hearing the shots, she then saw a white van drive past in front of her house at a high rate of speed. She said the shots she heard clearly sounded like gunshots from a handgun.
“I ran out to the street as the van flew by,” she said.
She said the large side passenger door of the van was open and the inside of the van was dark. She tried to get the license plate number on the van, but it was going too fast.
She also said she didn’t know the victim or the suspect in the case.
Under cross examination, defense attorney Huggins got her to say it was a Ford or Chevy minivan she saw. The van police believe Sinkevitch used was a Chrysler.
Under redirect questioning by prosecutors, the witness admitted she probably could not tell the difference between a Chevy, Ford, Chrysler or Honda minivan.
Doug Schamberg, who oversees IT operations where Sinkevitch works, took the stand next.
He spoke about RFID badges, which employees use to enter the building, and the surveillance cameras in the building.
Schamberg discussed company records detailing when Sinkevitch and Bridgette Hopkins were in the building based on the RFID badges opening security doors. He said there was also surveillance video recorded on the day of the murder showing Sinkevitch entering the building using a RFID badge at 3:20 p.m. but her badge was not the one used to open that door, according to the company’s computer system, at that time.
His testimony indicated Sinkevitch was out of the building at the time of the murder that day and had ample time to return to the office in Tempe.
Video footage from the surveillance camera at Agerter’s home showed a school bus driving past the house before a figure entered camera range from across the street. It was apparently a female in a hoodie that obscured her identity.
The person left camera range by walking into the garage. A few moments later, the person left quickly, crossing the street and getting into a white caravan, which left the scene.
The trial will resume Thursday morning and it is expected to continue through May 6.