The prosecutors in Kit’s murder trial had a bizarre strategy. In many ways, they put on more of a defense for Kit than a prosecution. It was the prosecution that introduced DNA evidence that could not tie Kit to the crime. It was the prosecution that put on ballistic experts who could not match a single bullet to any of Kit’s guns. And it was the prosecution who called Kit’s Alibi witnesses.
Kit had the perfect Alibi witness, which was his security camera footage. It was so foolproof that the prosecution had to resort to creative editing in order to show gaps where there were none. See the post A Detective’s Sleight of Hand. The murders of Calvin and Pam Phillips and Ed Dansereau occurred at different times of the day. For this post, I am going to focus on the burning of Pam’s car.
There is a very good timeline of when Pam’s car was set on fire. Earl Jet, who lived directly north of where the car was set on fire, testified that his dog woke him up at around 1:50 am. He went to use the restroom and noticed flames coming from John Homic’s farm field at approximately 2:10 am. John Homic heard two loud bangs at around 2:15 am (the two bangs were the airbags exploding). It’s about a ten to fifteen-minute drive from the Phillips’ driveway to where the car ultimately ended up. That means the car would have had to leave the Phillips’ driveway between 1:15 am and 1:30 am. It was likely closer to the 1:15 am timeframe. The driver of the first car had to find the turnoff onto the dirt road in the dark, get stuck in the mud, and then discuss what to do next with the driver of the second car. That’s probably what woke up Homic’s German Shepherd.
The prosecution pinned much of their case on the fact that Kit had set his watch alarm for 1:10 am. That would have given him just enough time to get up, walk across the street, drive Pam’s car to Homic’s farm, and set it on fire. There are people who believe Kit is guilty solely on that evidence. But this timeframe also puts three other people who were home at the time while all of this was to have taken place.
When the prosecution called Kit’s three Alibi witnesses, they did their best to suggest to the jurors that everyone was asleep and Kit could easily have slipped out of the house undetected, driven Pam’s car to Homic’s farm, set it on fire, walk back to the crime scene, drive Ed’s car to Joan’s house so he could throw Pam’s phone into her front yard, then drive Ed’s car to the elementary school parking lot, then walk back to his house, slip into bed and not wake anyone, even Laura who was sleeping in the same bed.
Since it was the prosecution who called the alibi witnesses, all the defense team had to do was establish them as credible witnesses and explain how unlikely it was for Kit to accomplish all of the necessary tasks without being detected. They did an admirable job of this, except for one monumental mistake. The defense had evidence from an alibi witness who saw Kit during the timeframe in question but chose not to introduce it at trial.
In the video below, you will hear from all three of Kit’s alibi witnesses: Emma, Austin, and Laura Spencer. You can judge for yourself their credibility. You can also judge for yourself if any of the witnesses noticed anything out of the ordinary concerning the defendant. Despite the defense’s best efforts, though, they left open in the jurors’ minds that Kit could have done all of these things without being detected.
Kit testified that the reason he had his watch alarm set to 1:10 am was because it was the first night that he was using the kerosene heater and he needed to check on it. But no one ever testified as to whether or not he did that. He is shown on the security camera footage on his back porch at 11:43 pm and 11:46 pm on November 18, 2015. I discuss this in the post There Really Was an Eyewitness. That’s where the timeline ends for Kit.
I’ve been in contact with Laura Spencer, one of Kit’s three alibi witnesses. She told me that she was awoken by the dogs barking, which coincides with the 11:43 pm timeline. Kit got out of bed to quiet the dogs. She says that Kit also got up to check on the heater at 1:10 am. Laura says that around 2:00 am she got up to use the restroom. She walked by the den and noticed Kit was in the room with the TV on. Kit could not have been on Rosteown road setting a car on fire if Laura saw him at 2:00 am.
Why didn’t the defense team introduce this evidence? I’d love to hear their answer to this question, but they’re not talking to me. Laura says that the reason they didn’t use it was because she couldn’t be certain of the time and couldn’t say whether or not Kit had the TV on or the computer. What do you think? Should they have introduced this alibi evidence? Would it have made a difference?