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Jenna Oakley Defense Team Wants Alleged Confession Tape Thrown Out

Posted at 4:56 PM, Jan 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-04 17:25:01-05

BOYLE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18)– Police say that 15-year-old Jenna Oakley confessed in the case of her stepmother’s murder. Her lawyers argue that the confession is not real.

The trial of Jenna Oakley, the teen charged in the murder of Rhonda Oakley, is approaching, and more details are being discussed in the courtroom.

The teen will face a jury during her trial, but before that happens, it needs to be decided whether or not an alleged confession tape be allowed or thrown out.

Jenna’s lawyers say that her rights were violated when police got the alleged confession.

The defense went over a secret recording in court Friday. Police say that it was made by a jail employee in New Mexico, where Jenna was found with her boyfriend in her stepmother’s car after the murder. Lawyers say that the recording shows Jenna told the employee she didn’t want to get her boyfriend in trouble so she was going to take the blame for the murder, then, when Jenna arrived back in Kentucky, police say she confessed alone in a closed airport.

“She had the right to keep what she told her lawyer a secret – did you tell her that?” Public Defender Jessica Buck said.

“No,” said now-retired KSP Detective Monte Owens.

“Ok,” said Buck.

Owens was asked about a conversation he had with a tipster who claims she knew someone “who could find out where the murder weapon” was.

The defense read a transcript where the tipster asks for money in exchange for information. According to the transcript, the tipster said she could get information out of this person if she “bribed them.” Detective Owens said in court that the tipster let it slip that the person who could provide him with the murder weapon location was her mother who worked at the jail Oakley was in.

The defense asked if Owens suggested the tipster record her mother. Owens said yes. The tipster also said that her mother was afraid of Jenna’s boyfriend, Kenneth Nigh, who was also arrested after he and Jenna were found in Rhonda Oakley’s car in New Mexico.

They asked if Owens let her know Nigh was in a hospital “barely alive.” He said yes.  The defense asked if the tipster said, “show us the money.” Owens said, yes. The money was supposed to come through CrimeStoppers. Owens was asked if the mother of the tipster wore a wire and secretly recorded Jenna Oakley. Owens said yes.

In court, they also discussed a letter that Jenna Oakley supposedly wrote her boyfriend, Kenneth Nigh. At this point, police say he had already attempted suicide and was not doing well in the hospital. He did later die.

“Don’t hurt yourself. You’re going to be a daddy,” was read in court as if it was in the letter.

The defense said the tipster told Owens that Jenna thought she was pregnant.

They asked Owens if he told the tipster to tell her mom to take Jenna into a room, not a cell “because you can’t hear really good (in cells).”

Owens said yes. He said that the secret recording between the tipster’s mom and Jenna was recorded on a “dictation device” and they were unable to retrieve the recording from it. He said that he never listened to it.

The defense read a transcript of the recording of Jenna and in it, the tipster’s mother tells Jenna that a news report said that the murder weapon had been recovered. The defense asked Owens if they ever got the murder weapon and he said no. In the recording, Jenna said she told her lawyer that she didn’t do it, but she knows who did. When the person recording Jenna asks if she said her boyfriend did it, Jenna says no.

Lawyers said that the transcript will not be brought up during the trial.

The judge will decide if the jury will hear this recording. The judge said that the rule date will be on January 8.