Cousin of Buggs takes the stand

Andrew Tellijohn

Prosecutors called another member of Louis Cardona “Butch” Buggs’ family Monday to testify. Buggs’ cousin, Ronald Johnson, was the second family member to testify at his trial, where he faces charges of killing his ex-girlfriend Kami Talley.
Johnson testified that between the beginning of March and April 10, Buggs called him collect three times to ask for money. Johnson said during the first two calls, he advised Buggs to turn himself in.
On the third occasion, Johnson said Buggs called him from Chicago and thanked him for the money, which was wired to him through a friend, Reginald Hammond.
Buggs is charged with murdering Talley on Valentine’s Day at her job in northeast Minneapolis. He went to Mexico the day after her death and was eventually arrested in Virginia.
Johnson was the second family member to testify Monday against Buggs. Buggs’ sister Lena, who began her testimony on Friday, completed her cross-examination as the morning’s first witness.
She reiterated her Friday testimony that the memory of her conversation with Buggs is fuzzy, but insisted that she didn’t recall where he said he planned to travel.
Defense attorney Pia Sass showed Lena Buggs transcripts from an interview she’d had with the police last year, in which she said Buggs might be thinking about going to Washington, D.C. However, she insisted in her testimony that she never knew her brother’s plans.
“I didn’t know where he was going,” she said. “He didn’t tell me where he was going.”
She also said she spoke to Buggs on the phone the morning of the murder. Discussing a parole violation warrant issued for his arrest, Buggs said that he would never return to prison.
“(Buggs said) that he would either have to be shot or he was going to commit suicide,” Lena Buggs said.
Attorneys spent the rest of the day reviewing physical evidence from the crime. The prosecution introduced some blood-soaked clothing, which was worn by Talley the day of the murder.
David Linden, a forensic scientist with the Minneapolis Police Department, testified that tests showed that the white turtleneck and black wool sweater vest Talley wore the day she was murdered contained gunpowder residue.
Most gunpowder burns up when fired from a gun, but the leftovers can scatter. Talley was close enough to the gun that powder clung to her blood-soaked clothing, Linden said.
“It’s within the patterning distance of the gun, so we’re talking feet,” he said.
Before he had his testimony postponed when court closed for the day, Linden also demonstrated how a revolver differs from a semi-automatic weapon, like the Beretta 9mm model 925, which was the weapon that killed Talley.
Prosecutors also introduced evidence seized from Buggs’ sparsely-furnished home with a search warrant the day of the murder.
On top of a television set in the master bedroom of the house Buggs and Talley shared before they broke up, investigators found a will handwritten by Buggs. A US West phone bill with Buggs’ name on it and an answering machine tape were also entered into evidence.
If convicted of the murder, Buggs will face life in prison without parole.