Bodden case heads to jury on Tuesday

Lawyer James Wilson Jr. wrapped up the defense of murder suspect Karen Bodden with one witness Friday: Her former lawyer Robert Ben Walker.

Before Walker testified, District Judge Dave Gamble questioned Bodden to make sure she understood the implications of waiving attorney-client privilege.

"I want you to understand there may very well be good things that come out of Mr. Walker's testimony. But he is subject to cross examination of the whole of his legal relationship including information that may be damaging to you," Gamble said.

"If there is a very negative or very incriminating statement you made to Mr. Walker, he will be bound to reveal it," Gamble said.

"I understand," Bodden said.

Walker represented Bodden when she was charged with embezzling money from her husband Robin Bodden's personal and business accounts.

She came under suspicion after Bodden was reported missing by his sister in August 2006, three weeks before the 50-year-old aircraft mechanic's body was discovered in the desert off Johnson Lane.

Investigating Bodden's disappearance, officials discovered thousands of dollars they alleged his wife embezzled.

Walker represented Bodden until she was charged with her husband's murder. She pleaded not guilty to open murder with a deadly weapon.

Wilson asked Walker when Karen Bodden learned details of her husband's death to counter testimony Thursday that she knew circumstances of the murder months before information was made public.

Walker testified that he was advised by District Attorney Mark Jackson about the murder within days after the body was discovered.

"We talked about the evidence he (Jackson) had in the murder case," Walker said. "We knew Karen was the main suspect and they were trying to build a case against her. I went and saw Karen in the Douglas County Jail. I told her what he had told me."

Walker said he was sure of the date, Oct. 12, 2006, because he typed up his notes, and the conversation took place the day before Bodden's preliminary hearing.

The embezzlement charges were dismissed after Bodden was charged with her husband's murder.

Jackson asked Walker about other details Karen Bodden relayed, including information about a man named "Ramos" she alleged flew off with her husband in an airplane the last day she saw him.

"She told you this whole story about this Ramos character," Jackson said. "You wanted to know if anybody knew him, and she said it would be impossible to track because there was no witness or documentary evidence to tie Rob to this Ramos."

Bodden's daughter, Caroline Allen, 23, of Phoenix, testified Thursday that she couldn't locate her mother for four hours on Aug. 16, 2006, during the time period officials believe Robin Bodden was killed.

Allen and her mother owned The Pond Goddesses, a pond building construction and maintenance business.

She testified that her mother called her early that morning to remind her they had a job site cleanup and asked if she was out of bed.

Allen said she arrived at the site at 8:30 a.m. and called her mother, but there was no answer.

"I started to clean up the job site, but I couldn't do it myself. I went looking for my mom," Allen said.

She testified she went to two different job sites, then to Rob Bodden's hangar at Minden Tahoe-Airport at 9:30 a.m.

She said her mother's car was parked outside, but there was a note on the door that said the Boddens went for a motorcycle ride.

Her mother finally called her at noon and they had lunch at the Beijing Palace in Carson City where her mother told her a different story.

"She said she was at the hangar with Rob. They got in an argument and Rob took off in a plane with a man named Ramos," Allen said.

She said her mother seemed normal, "maybe a little quiet after lunch."

Allen said she asked her mother over the next several days if Rob Bodden had returned and was "a little concerned" that he was still missing and Karen Bodden didn't report it.

She testified that she did not get along with her stepfather and he didn't like her.

"I didn't want him to die," she said.

Allen said her mother was unhappy after she married Bodden in 2000.

"They had a lot of problems," she said. "Mom wanted to leave almost as soon as they got married."

Jackson played a recording of a conversation between Karen Bodden and Allen made after Bodden was incarcerated.

"I don't know who you are," Allen said on the recording.

Bodden replied, "I'm not in my right mind anymore, and I think you know that. I'm just not the same person any more."

On Friday, Walker testified that Boddens' children referred to her as insane after her marriage.

"I don't think I ever questioned her ability to stand trial," Walker said.

Allen said she wasn't aware that her mother altered or signed checks after Bodden's disappearance or used his corporate credit cards.

"My mom had stolen money from him previously and he asked her to pay it back," Allen said. "It was a continuous cycle with them. It happened many times."

The case is expected to go to the jury of 10 women and two men on Tuesday following jury instructions and closing arguments from Jackson and Wilson.

Bodden has been in Douglas County Jail on $1 million cash bail since her arrest Sept. 11, 2006, the day after her husband's body was found.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment