BY NATE TAYLOR • NateTaylor@coloradoan.com • May 2, 2009
James Whitler's ex-wife confronted him in court Friday afternoon, describing to jurors how tension in her family grew leading to the day she filed for divorce and her husband is accused of beating process server Stephen Allen to death with a baseball bat.
Lisa Whitler said - in the week leading up to May 28, 2008, when she filed for divorce and got a court-issued restraining order protecting herself and her children from James Whitler - her children on more than one occasion sent electronic "hate messages" to her.
The voice and text messages were sent while the 10- and 12-year-old children were living with James Whitler, who moved back into the family home after living at an apartment for six months while the couple was separated, according to Lisa Whitler's testimony.
Her testimony concluded proceedings in James Whitler's murder trial Friday, day two of the prosecution's presentation of evidence.
Whitler is charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.
The Whitlers' 10-year-old son is scheduled to testify when proceedings continue Monday.
Lisa Whitler said one text message she received said, "DIE DIE DIE." And prosecutors played a voice message for jurors during which her son is heard saying, "Dad has a hearing on Monday so we don't have to see you anymore."
It was that message from her son that convinced Lisa Whitler to deliver the divorce papers and restraining order to her husband the same day she filed for divorce, instead of the next day as she'd planned.
Lisa Whitler said her attorney arranged for Stephen Allen to meet her to serve the documents to James Whitler. She said Allen gave her the option to come with him, arrange for a police officer to help or for him to serve the papers on his own.
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Ex-wife: Whitler calmly read papers before attacking process server