Jurors in the Charles Stobaugh murder trial rode along with the family Monday morning in home video family members took during a cross-country vacation in 2002 to the Grand Canyon and other points of interest. Charles Stobaugh
Some jurors notified the judge during a break that they were suffering from motion sickness while trying to watch the footage shot from a moving car.
Charles Stobaugh is charged with killing his wife, Kathy, and hiding her body so well it still has not been found on Dec. 29, 2004. The defense team of Derrell Comer and Ed Zeilinski took over Monday after several days of the state's case delayed over three weeks.
Prosecutors' witnesses testified to her driving to the family farm off Metz Road west of Sanger that night at his request to discuss a divorce settlement he had formerly refused to talk about. Testimony showed that her car remained in his driveway for the five days when no one reported her missing and that no one has ever heard from her since.
Comer told the jury in his opening statement that it was time they saw "the other Kathy Stobaugh," who was different from the wife, loving mother and dedicated teacher they'd had described to them by numerous state's witnesses.
"You will find a Kathy Stobaugh that her friends did not know of," Comer said. "The Kathy Stobaugh who was secretly talking to other men and having a sexual relationship with at least one other man."
Comer said that investigators in the case did not extend their detective work beyond Charles Stobaugh, that they did not extend the search for her to Haskell, Texas where a man lived whom Kathy Stobaugh dated during her seven-month separation from her husband while she tried to obtain a divorce without her husband's cooperation. Kathy Stobaugh
Prosecutors Cary and Susan Piel are wrong about what happened to her, Comer said.
"What you will find is a mystery that will only be solved by finding Kathy Stobaugh."
The defense's first witness was Daryl Coats, Charles Stobaugh's supervisor at Tetra Pak, where he has worked for 27 years. Coats said the defendant works the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift as a machinist.
Comer asked Coats whether Stobaugh was on vacation on the night of Jan. 3, 2004. He said a state's witness said that Stobaugh was not working that night, but Coats verified that he was. Coats said Stobaugh told him he had an emergency call and had to leave about 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 4.
That was the night that investigators questioned him about the disappearance of his wife five days earlier and about why he didn't report her missing.
Kathy and Charles Stobaugh had two children, according to testimony, a boy who was 13 at the time of her disappearance and a daughter who was 16. Charee Stobaugh did not report her mother missing until one of Kathy Stobaugh's co-workers called to ask why she did not come back to work the first scheduled day after the Christmas vacation at a Nocona Elementary school where she worked.
Charee Stobaugh testified before the noon break that she left her father's home to attend college but moved back in after her graduation and that both she and her brother live with him now.
She testified that she never told her aunt that she knew her mother was dating Lynn "Rocky" Underwood, as the aunt testified, and that she didn't know her mother had been dating anyone until 2010, after her father was indicted.
Comer showed more than two hours of home video of the Grand Canyon trip, which was meant to show jurors that testimony from the Munday family, Kathy Stobaugh's relatives, that the Stobaughs did not take vacations was untrue.
Charee Stobaugh said there was home video from numerous other family vacations but it disappeared from her mother's rental house in Sanger when the Mundays stored her belongings after she had been gone about two months.
Charee Stobaugh said she had heard about a possible divorce in 2002, however.
"I was surprised. I thought everything was OK," she said.
Her testimony continues this afternoon in 362nd District Court.
DONNA FIELDER can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.