The last time Rebecca Kirk was the center of attention in a court room she was sitting on the witness stand in June 2012 during Calvin Duane Pettey's murder trial.
She was attentive, emotional and forthcoming.
She said she "destroyed evidence" — evidence that would have been used against her boyfriend, Pettey, in his murder trial. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in the shooting death of Sandy Fugate, his fiance.
However, all eyes will be on Kirk again as she makes another courtroom appearance. This time, she is the one facing charges — two charges of tampering with physical evidence, Class D felonies. She is scheduled to go before Judge David Hamilton Ash at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16 at the Pike County Courthouse in Bowling Green. The charges come out of Pike County because that's where the alleged tampering took place.
To the untrained eye, this may look like an open and shut case. After all, Kirk admitted to committing what she's charged for. The courtroom heard it in June, it got reported in the media.
So does any plea other than guilty set Kirk up for more charges? Not so fast says Pike County Prosecutor Mark Fisher.
"We have trials all the time where people gave a confession and they may argue that the confession didn't really mean what it said. If she pleads not guilty and wants a trial, doesn't mean she's not saying anything different than what she said before. Until she takes the stand and testifies differently, there would be no perjury involved," Fisher said. "She may plead not guilty for a variety of reasons. She may simply want her day in court. Somebody could be guilty and absolutely know they're guilty, they'll still want their day in court, want a trial. They'll want a jury to make that determination that they're guilty instead of a judge or instead of them admitting it by pleading guilty."
The charges against Kirk include possible jail time if she's convicted.
"They carry the possibility of up to 1 year each in the county jail or up to four years each in the Missouri Department of Corrections, and/or a $5,000 fine. The maximum would be four years — Department of Corrections on each charge — plus $5,000 on each charge. That's the range," Fisher said. "These are the only charges that I have on her. These are the only charges from all of the information that I have been provided that I can charge her with. New information comes forward, obviously that could result in an amendment, or new charges, or a reduction of charges."