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IMPERIAL — Jurors watched a video recording Monday of the initial police interrogation of Kevin S. German in which he states several times that he has no idea of the location of Annika Swanson’s body.
“You’re asking the wrong person about that,” German states more than once in the roughly 90-minute video that was shown on the start of the second week of testimony of his trial in Chase County District Court.
German, 26, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, is charged with first-degree murder and felony kidnapping in the abduction and death of the 22-year-old Imperial woman.
The police interview was conducted hours after German and his co-defendant in the case, Keonna N. Carter, were both arrested in Colorado on Nov. 25, four days after Swanson’s body was discovered at the bottom of an 8-foot-deep irrigation drainage pipe beside an earthen dam in a rural area near Imperial.
Cpl. Tessa Jakobson of the Colorado Springs Police Department and Chase County Sheriff’s Office deputy Duncan Einspahr split the interview time with German.
At one point of the video, Einspahr tells German that, “the gig is up.”
“With Annika. I know what happened,” Einspahr says. “I just don’t know where she is.”
German adds that he doesn’t know either. German said the last he had seen of Swanson was when he kicked her out of the car he was driving near Enders, not far from Russ Mann’s trailer where she had been staying.
When Jakobson began the interview session, German initially denied being in Imperial or Nebraska in November. German, who graduated from Chase County High School in 2014, said the last time he had been at his home was in September for harvest.
Jakobson countered that a number of other individuals had told authorities that German had been in Imperial for several days in the middle of November.
“The story you were telling me at the beginning was complete garbage,” Jakobson told German.
As the video was playing, one woman entered the courtroom and walked over and hugged Swanson’s father, Monti, before she took a seat.
The display led to a delay in testimony late in the day. Attorneys from both sides were called into Judge Patrick Heng’s chambers for a discussion on the matter.
Heng then addressed the gallery about emotional displays within the courtroom. When the jury was brought back in, he instructed the members to focus on the testimony that was being delivered.
Testimony earlier in the day focused on evidence that was found at the crime scene.
Christine Gabig testified that a damp, gray sweatshirt found near Swanson tested positive for both the presence of both vegetable oil and jack oil.
Gabig, a forensic chemist with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, also said that the green residue found in a clear, plastic container on the ground just outside the pipe tested positive for both methanol and ethylene glycol.
Both substances can be found in windshield washer fluid and antifreeze, among other products.
Dr. Timothy Rohrig, a forensic toxicologist and pharmacologist, testified earlier in the morning that the ingestion of methanol, also known as wood alcohol, and methamphetamine in Swanson’s system were both contributing factors in her death.
Gabig said grass samples from the crime scene tested negative for jack oil, and a German’s clothing items — a black sweatshirt, under armor shoes and sweatpants did as well.
A bottle of vegetable oil was found at the bottom of the pipe and Gabig said lab tests confirmed the substance inside it to be either the oil or an animal fat product.
Jakobson was the lone afternoon witness. German’s attorney, Clarence Mock, focused on Carter’s interrogation, in which he said she told multiple versions of the events. He said that includes Carter initially leaving out her beating Swanson on the side of the road and stepping on her neck.
Mock asked Jakobson at one point if Carter was stopped and told she was not telling (the investigators) “the truth.”
“That’s correct,” Jakobson said.
Mock also asked about Carter saying she was pregnant with triplets, a story that later was found to be false. Mock said instead it was a tale that she told to convince German to live with her in Colorado.
But Mock said Carter ran with the story, or as he called it, “a fantasy of being pregnant” throughout the interrogation and the early stages of the investigation.
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