Jury hears police interview with Luna
TRIGG COUNTY, KY- Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, George Luna sits back in an office chair looking calm, relaxed even, as he sits down for his first interview with police investigators back in 2007.
Day two of Luna's trial centered around a series of police interviews conducted with Luna in the day after a fatal fire. Luna is again facing murder and arson charges for his role in the 2007 death of Debra Hendrickson. His conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court.
Jurors watched as Luna even jokes with officers.
"I've got a lot of good speeding tickets if you've seen my record," he says, erupting into laughter.
In fact, it was a speeding ticket that initially got him arrested. The jury also saw that video from a Illinois State Police cruiser. The arresting officer clocked Luna doing 100 miles per hour in Hendrickson's truck, not long after the fire.
From that video, the jury hears Trooper Steve Nelson call for backup, "He's jumpy, he's just nuts."
Later, Nelson testified, Luna head butted him and when he asked if there were weapons in the truck he responded with a wink saying, "If I had them you'd know."
At the Williamson County Jail, his erratic behavior continues when an officer refuses to take off his handcuffs.
"He said he would hunt me down, kill me and my family," Deputy James Wright recalled.
But the video that took center stage was conducted a day after those threats. In it, the jury saw a drastically different George Luna. He admits Hendrickson probably does not know her car has been impounded, but that is all the concern he expresses.
When investigators confirm a fire he responds quickly, "I had a bunch of my stuff at the house. What's up with that? Was it burned bad?"
When he's later told of Hendrickson's death he mumbles and then says, "I just got cold chills."
But those chills do not last long, George Luna is once again red hot, "I didn't do s***. I had nothing to do with this fire."
Luna says over and over in the interview he had no reason to hurt Deb Hendrickson. He recounted for officers what he said was 'a good day.' He says the pair went out to eat and had a couple beers. Hendrickson, he said, even met a man who she told Luna would be coming over later. In the video, Luna said he had no idea who that man was but that man would have been the last one with Hendrickson, not him.
The relationship between Luna and Hendrickson was also discussed. He told interviewers the two were friends. He said Hendrickson was 'like 10 years older than me' but she had 'a big heart.'
The state medical examiner and coroner testified Tuesday Hendrickson had been killed before the fire started, saying her skull had injuries not consistent with damage from the heat. Marshall County Coroner Mitchell Lee said Hendrickson's body was so badly burned it took days to make a positive identification.
"The family had told me she always wore her deceased husband's wedding band. We did find that in the debris around the body. They also told me she normally wore Lee jeans and right under the body when we picked it up there was a button that had Lee on it, like Lee jeans had," he testified.
The State Fire Marshall testified the fire was not electrical or accidental in nature. Bill Compton used a hydro carbon detector and he said traces of an accelerant were picked up. Also he said the origin of the fire was where Hendrickson's body was found.
Testimony continues at 9 Wednesday morning. If convicted, Luna could receive life behind bars without the possibility of parole.