Jury hears video statement in Vandyke case

Rogrick Vandyke
Rogrick Vandyke

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Jurors in the murder trial of Rogrick Vandyke heard a lengthy video statement he gave to police after the murder of his girlfriend in 2008.

Vandyke went through a lengthy police interrogation that was video taped after the murder. And as the tape went on it became increasingly clear there was a lot about his story that didn't add up.

Vandyke is accused of killing his girlfriend-- Rhonda Nelson who was found dead at her home at 2118 Katherine Street in August 2008. Police found her purse dumped out on the floor and a laptop computer missing-- but they believe Vandyke staged the scene to make it look like a burglary.

In a lengthy video statement, given to police and played for the jury Vandyke repeatedly denies having anything to do with Nelson's death.

First he said he didn't know about Nelson's death until a family member called him after the body had been discovered. Then later in the video, Vandyke eventually admits to being in the house and seeing her dead and leaving without calling 911 or an ambulance.

On video he tells police: "I panicked. I wasn't the man she wanted me to be. I wasn't there for her. I just left." When asked why, after claiming he found her laying face down, he didn't call an ambulance, he told police, "I didn't want to believe she was dead. I just left."

Police pointed out to Vandyke many parts of his story that didn't add up or make sense-- still he denied being there when she died or hurting her. Vandyke told the police: "I loved my baby. I loved her with all my heart. I would never put my hands on her and hurt her."

According to testimony from Detective Gregory Single, Vandyke did not attend Nelson's funeral. He was arrested in a homeless shelter in Dallas more than a year after the murder.

Coroner Dr.Terry Welke was the last witness of the day. He says Nelson's manner of death was homicide, the cause of death asphyxiation-- though it's not clear how. He says she could have been suffocated or that perhaps someone sat on her back preventing her from breathing.

The case is expected to wrap up tomorrow.

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