Evidence in the 2010 Valentine's Day murder of Richard Schoeck may be circumstantial, but it's sufficient, Hall County Superior Court Judge Jason Deal said Tuesday.
The defense for Reginald Coleman, the accused contract triggerman in the case, argued the evidence was insufficient to establish cause for arrest. But Deal ruled against the motion to suppress the evidence.
Defense attorneys will today try to suppress statements Coleman made to investigators.
The motion to have the evidence suppressed included playing hours of audio recordings after Coleman's arrest.
Investigators' testimonies indicated Tuesday the largely circumstantial case they compiled relies heavily on phone and financial records. They allege the victim's wife, Stacey Schoeck, arranged through a mutual friend to have Coleman kill her husband on Valentine's Day of 2010.
Investigators described a series of calls beginning at 6:42 p.m. on the day of the murder connecting Schoeck to Coleman through Lynitra Ross, a co-worker of Schoeck.
According to their testimony, one of these calls from Coleman's phone to Ross came from the vicinity of the crime scene at 8:40 p.m. Seventeen minutes later, another call was made from Coleman's phone to Ross, this time near Flowery Branch, which investigators say is on a possible route from the murder scene to where Coleman lives in Austell.
Three minutes after receiving that call, Ross sent a text message to Stacey Schoeck. While the investigator didn't quote the text directly, he said it was something to the effect of, "I forgot to remind you, I'm going to be late to work tomorrow. Happy Valentine's Day."
Another 36 minutes after receiving the text, Stacey Schoeck arrived at Belton Bridge Park and found her husband shot three times to the abdomen and twice to the face.
Further investigation revealed Stacey Schoeck was having an affair and stood to receive $560,000 from two life insurance policies taken out in 2009.
Investigators also testified she made several inconsistent statements and had a demeanor not typical of someone who just lost a husband.
Police found tire tracks in the park that indicated the presence of a vehicle, besides the one belonging to Richard Schoeck. The tread marks of those tires were later discovered to be similar to those of the 2009 Chevrolet Impala that had been given to Stacy Schoeck. Investigators testified Ross was in possession of this Impala before and after the time of the murder.
Investigators also learned several emails had been deleted from Stacey Schoeck's work computer. A recovery of these emails revealed discussion of money transfers totaling $10,002 from her account to Ross.
A deeper look at Ross' finances also revealed she had written a $700 check to Coleman just nine days before the murder.