Lawyer asks witness about story changes
A defense attorney tried to paint a witness as being less than truthful.
By ED RUNYAN
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Did Keyatta Riley Hines do more than help Jermaine McKinney dispose of evidence in Wanda Rollyson's Newton Township house Dec. 21?
Riley Hines had testified last week that she spent a half-hour or so in the house taking items from Rollyson's purse and helping McKinney gather up sheets and flammable liquids he wanted, items the prosecution said were used to help burn the bodies of Rollyson and her daughter.
Monday, McKinney's attorney, Donald Malarcik, asked Riley Hines many questions about inconsistent statements she's made regarding the case, her ability to live off money from boyfriends and older men, her criminal history -- and a tattoo that he implied indicates that she's willing to do many things for money.
McKinney is on trial in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court charged with the slayings of Rollyson and her daughter, Rebecca Cliburn, in a Newton Township home last December. If convicted, he faces the death penalty, partly because of the state's multiple-homicide statute and because the slayings were committed during an aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and aggravated arson, according to the indictment against Mckinney.
Riley Hines, 21, of Coit Street, Warren, testified that she has one of McKinney's nicknames, "Main," tattooed on her shoulder -- and a tattoo that says "[expletive] you, pay me" on her torso.
She also admitted, when asked by Malarcik, that she had once written a letter to the father of one of her children stating that she had killed before and she would do it again.
Malarcik first attacked Riley Hines' contention that she had met McKinney during summer 2005, and been with him only two times before Dec. 19-21, when she and McKinney planned and carried out a robbery at Rollyson's house.
Riley Hines acknowledged she had named McKinney as godfather of the daughter she gave birth to Nov. 29, 2005, after only spending time with him twice before.
Malarcik also asked Riley Hines numerous questions designed to indicate the type of person she is, such as:
The number of times she lied to police in Oakland, Calif., where she once lived, by giving a false name (five to 10).
How many guns she has owned (four).
How many times she had told investigators a false name for an accomplice during questioning by police in December (31).
How many times she had used a knife while fighting "on the streets" (eight or nine).
How many times she took money from her grandmother, the woman who reared her (three).
How many boyfriends give her financial support (three).
What other people support her financially (unspecified older men).
Malarcik repeatedly asked Riley Hines to explain why she told investigators in December different things from what she said in court Friday and Monday.
For example, on Monday, Malarcik asked Riley Hines whether she and Jazzmine McIver had any discussion of what they'd do with money they were hoping to get from the Rollyson house robbery, and Riley Hines said no.
Then Malarcik read back transcripts of her interview with investigators in December that contradicted that. Riley Hines then admitted that she and McIver had probably discussed money that day.
Malarcik also questioned Riley Hines about the amount of time she spent in the Rollyson house, implying that it had been much more than she had testified. In December, Riley Hines said she'd been in the house only 10 minutes. Friday she testified it had been 20 minutes. McIver testified she waited in the car outside the house for McKinney and Riley Hines for about an hour.
Other testimony Monday came from Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk, the county's forensic pathologist, who testified that the primary cause of Rebecca Cliburn's death was two blows to the head with suffocation being a second cause. He said this was proved by an examination of Cliburn's skull, which showed bruises and skull fractures. The cloth still attached to Cliburn's face and neck showed that she could have also died from suffocation, he said.
Dr. Germaniuk said it would be difficult to say what caused Rollyson's death because 80 percent of her body was destroyed by fire. He said he could not rule out the possibility that Rollyson died from gunshots to the head, but no bullets were found at the scene or in either body.
Jennifer Brindisi, a reporter for WKBN TV 27, testified that she was alerted to a pair of boots and a crowbar sitting on ice-covered McKelvey Lake on Dec. 23 and called Youngstown police. Police and firefighters later recovered the evidence, which has been linked to McKinney and the Newton Township case.
Brian Peterman, an investigator with the state fire marshal's office, testified that the fire in Rollyson's house occurred because Rollyson and Cliburn were placed on a concrete floor with clothes, cardboard and deck stain on them, and everything was set on fire.