0

Witnesses testify suspect threatened to kill girlfriend

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

JONESBORO — Witnesses took the stand Tuesday and testified that a teenager threatened to kill his girlfriend in the months before she was shot to death in February 2011.

Kevin Kosturi was 15 when police said he put a .38-caliber revolver to the chest of Angel Hope Freeman, 16, and pulled the trigger. He was a month from his 16th birthday.

Kosturi is 17 and being held without bond in the Clayton County Jail on murder and other felonies. He is being prosecuted as an adult.

Testimony in the state's case against Kosturi began Tuesday. Jurors were shown a video of Freeman's body as it lay outside a makeshift fort in the woods near Grant and Dunn roads in Ellenwood. She was wearing boots, jeans and a blood-stained white top.

Police said Kosturi first blamed a Hispanic male for firing a rifle at Freeman before running into the woods.

However, Kosturi allegedly confessed under questioning by police on the scene. He also reportedly led police to a retention pond where he threw the handgun he used.

"Kevin knows the woods very well," testified Clayton County police Lt. Anthony Thuman. "He escorted me to the lake and showed where he threw the gun. He was very clear. It was remarkable how well he knew the area even in the dark."

Other witnesses who took the stand Tuesday were classmates of the couple. Charles Williams, 19, said he heard Kosturi say, "If I can't have her, no one can."

"We were in science class and he was so upset, so outraged that she was leaving him," said Williams. "He was so upset the teacher was trying to calm him down so she could conduct class. He just got up and walked out."

Another student said she was Freeman's best friend but she didn't know much about the couple's relationship.

A third classmate, Daniel Jimenez, said he saw Kosturi and Freeman arguing in the hallway in between classes in December 2010.

"She slammed the locker and walked away," said Jimenez. "He walked away with his head down and said, 'I'm gonna kill her.'"

Under cross-examination, Jimenez said he didn't react to the comment because "it was said often."

Another student also testified to hearing Kosturi make the threat.

"He said he was going to kill her," said Casey Bartlett. "I told him to not say that and he said, 'No, really, I'm going to kill her.' He was just mad, they'd been arguing."

Police also arrested Kosturi’s neighbor, Robert Allen Bethune, 23, for allegedly giving the teenager the weapon. Bethune is charged with theft by taking, furnishing a weapon to a person under 18 and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Kosturi allegedly asked Bethune for a weapon to protect himself from another teenager.

Kosturi and Freeman apparently argued and when he pulled out the gun, Freeman reportedly told him, “You won’t shoot me,” said police.

Testimony is expected to continue Wednesday.