GRAY -- Judy Coker feared her husband might get hurt when he drove to Macon in March 2012 to meet Pamela Moss at the Bass Road McDonalds to get $85,000 that Moss owed him.
Doug Coker, a Henry County businessman, had given her the money because Moss, a grant writer, was helping him set up a nonprofit organization to help people who couldnt afford to buy homes.
But by March 13, 2012, Coker had figured out Moss was a con person, his wife testified Monday.
Moss, 55, is charged with murder in Cokers death. His body was found March 18, 2012, covered in plastic and shingles, doused with lime, underneath the porch of Moss home in River North, a subdivision just across the Jones County line from north Macon.
Moss trial began Monday in Gray.
Prosecutor Keagan Waystack said Moss struck Coker in the head with a hammer multiple times in her living room before stashing his body.
Franklin J. Hogue, Moss lawyer, told jurors in his opening statement that the defense doesnt dispute Moss killed Coker, but he said she should be found not guilty by reason of insanity.
She was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder in the 1990s and received treatment up until the early 2000s, he said.
Hogue said a doctor will testify during the trial that Moss still suffers from the disorder and that she acted out of a delusional compulsion when Coker was killed.
I have an unhealthy client, Hogue told the jury. She is not well.
Waystack argued that steps Moss took to cover up the killing, including trying to clean her house and leaving on the natural gas in hopes the house would burn, show she was a woman who knew the difference between right and wrong.
A meeting at McDonalds
Doug Coker was scheduled to meet Moss at the Bass Road McDonalds about 11 a.m. March 13, 2012.
Surveillance video shows Coker buying a cup of coffee and talking with someone on his cellphone, said Dean Watson, a Henry County police investigator who was assigned to look into Cokers disappearance. Cokers wife reported him missing later on March 13.
The video also shows Coker writing something before he left the restaurant, Watson testified.
Knowing Moss was the last person Coker spoke with, Watson said he went to her house on Old Ridge Road to talk with her on March 14, the day he checked the McDonalds video. No one answered the door, but a car registered to Moss was parked in the driveway.
Watson later arranged to meet with Moss the following day. She wanted to meet at an Atlanta Starbucks.
While there, Moss said she had planned to use Cokers $85,000 as seed money for a matching grant. Once another investor matched the money, Coker would get his money back. She would get 5 percent of the matched funds as payment for her services, Watson said.
Moss admitted she had used Cokers money for her personal use -- shed had a death in the family and some financial problems -- and said Coker was OK with how the money was used, Watson said.
But Watson had read emails sent from Coker to Moss in which Coker repeatedly had asked for his money back. The evidence didnt match.
Watson testified that Moss told him multiple versions of how her meeting with Coker occurred. At first, she said they talked in the McDonalds parking lot and then went their separate ways. She later said they met at the McDonalds and then he followed her to another location, a piece of land ready for investment.
Watson had already requested copies of Moss cellphone records and knew that her cellphone, which she said she had with her that day, had been in the same location from about 6:35 a.m. to 1:35 p.m. The meeting was set for 11 a.m.
Cokers cellphone records showed his phone was within a two-mile radius of a Monroe County cellphone tower about 2:15 p.m., Watson testified.
But by that time, he was already dead.
A worried wife
Doug Coker talked to his wife one last time, about 10:15 a.m. the day he died.
He had called on his way to meet Moss and said that he had taken some mail to the post office as she had requested.
Judy Coker testified she had asked her husband to call her as soon as he finished meeting with Moss, just so she would know he was OK.
She became concerned about 1 p.m. when she hadnt heard anything from her husband. She called his cellphone.
It would ring and ring until it went to voicemail, Coker testified.
She called about every 15 minutes.
Coker also called one of her husbands business associates and he tried to contact Doug Coker to no avail.
About 2:15 p.m., Coker said she saw her husbands name flash across the caller ID readout on her cellphone.
She answered and the person hung up.
I kept saying, Hello, hello, Coker said.
She called back. It was dead, she said.
Waystack told jurors in her opening statement that Moss used Doug Cokers cellphone to call his wife and business associate. During both calls she hung up as soon as the calls were answered. She then tossed the phone out the window of his car as she drove it to the Spalding County Hospital.
Waystack said Moss asked a friend to pick her up from the hospital parking lot, saying that her car needed repairs. The friend picked her up without seeing that Moss had been driving Cokers Dodge Avenger.
A few days later, Moss set off in her own car, headed to her sisters house in south Georgia. She called on the way, saying she couldnt drive the whole way and asked that her sister pick her up at a Wal-Mart in Hinesville, Waystack said.
Her sister picked her up in the store parking lot and drove her to her house. When deputies went to her sisters house several days after the killing, Moss was gone. She was at a neighbors house taking pills in an attempt to commit suicide, Waystack said.
After a hospital stay, Moss was taken into custody.
Just before testimony began Monday, Moss, who served eight years in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in her mothers fatal 1996 poisoning, asked the judge if she could waive her right to be present during the trial. The judge ruled that she had to attend the trial Monday, but could decide Tuesday whether to attend the second day of trial.
Testimony is scheduled to resume Tuesday morning.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.